The future of social media? It’s vertical.

With floods and hurricanes in Oz, political upheaval in the Middle East and domestic politics beset by localism we’re all struggling to see the bigger picture. 

In an effort to bring some clarity to my world I went to a social media seminar run by the wonderful British Library Business & IP Service - a free-to-use business research facility, a great working environment and an excellent use of public money.    See www.bl.uk/bipc and use it.

The seminar featured a live webcast and took questions via Twitter.   The well-chosen panel included technology gurus like Rory Cellan-Jones and entrepreneurs like Justine Roberts, Mumset co-founder.

One key topic debated was whether twittering is a private or public communication.  The panel were conclusive.  It’s a public medium, they agreed  -  underscoring the "social” in "social media”.  Quite.

But two other insightful threads of conversation mirrored recent debates within in Gravitas PR.  

The first was that the entire event had focussed on business-to-consumer communications.  Although we do lots of social media work for business-to-business clients, most stories don’t suit short, rapid communications.  As panel member and Superjam founder Fraser Doherty said, sometimes a blog is the better, because it lets people engage with and follow your journey.    

The second was "what is the next 'big thing’ in social media?”  No doubts from the panel, and again we’ve seen the same signs at Gravitas PR.  The future is that "vertical networks” - special interest networks - are expected to be the answer.   The one thing a vertical network needs is a specialised approach.   Are you geared up to handle this? 

Ruth Ashton