Erik P.M. Vermeulen

@erikpmvermeulen

“What Are the Game-Changing Trends for 2019?” A Difficult Question, But…

Social media and authenticity can help you find the answer

Photo by Ales Nesetril on Unsplash
Self-learning is the essential skill to master in these days of digitization and automation.

This is my conclusion after giving several workshops last week. The participants were all inspired and convinced that the exponential growth of technology will have an enormous impact on the future of work and society as a whole.

Participants in the workshops were particularly interested in what 2019 will bring in the areas of artificial intelligence, robotics, and crypto-currencies. It is, however, difficult to predict with certainty what is going to happen and when (even in 2019).

Continuous self-learning is necessary in order not to be “surprised” and to take full advantage of the technological changes. I explained self-learning in more detail in an earlier Hackernoon-piece. What I want to emphasize here again is that just collecting, curating and consuming information isn’t sufficient. You have to become actively engaged and involved in co-creation, experimentation, correction, and “criticizing” activities. And the best way to become an active participant in the “creation of the future” is through social media.

It is important to realize that social media is so much more than a time-wasting, data-mining, or addiction-creating activity (here I cite Evan Puschak in The Nerdwriter’s post on “smartphones in popular movies”). Social media goes beyond trying to get as many “likes” as possible.

Social media is about starting an inclusive dialogue, becoming part of a creative community, understanding and building the digital future together. Another advantage of social media is that it offers many new ways to convey your message or start a conversation: movies, stories, infographics, pictures, short messages, etc.

But, to be as effective as possible, it is crucial to be “authentic.” Or, at least, it is necessary to manufacture an image that communicates authenticity.

Here are three strategies for communicating genuine authenticity.

#Personalize and humanize (and never ever lie)

The increasing amount of information and shrinking attention spans mean that the style of communicating matters enormously. It is, of course, essential to think about the potential audience, but what is more important is to communicate in an engaging and personalized matter. Personalized posts tend to attract the most attention because they reflect authenticity.

Authenticity means that you have to be honest. Addressing hard issues increases engagement.

In contrast, keeping up appearances strategies or being pretentious will fail. It is distractive and consumes too much energy.

#Embrace diversity and benefit from the “wisdom of the crowd”

Specialization is usually viewed as necessary. I sometimes hear warnings that people should be careful not to become “a jack of all trades, master of none.” We don’t need more generalists, but more specialists.

There is some truth in this. However, we must be careful not to “box things” too quickly and look at technological developments in isolation. Many new technologies are amplifying and accelerating each other. Also, new technological developments have a wide range of consequences. Even if you are a specialist, you must be able to put yourself in the shoes of other people (both generalists and specialists).

“Multidisciplinary” is a vital component of the self-learning cycle.

For social media and the wisdom of the crowd to work effectively, we must develop an open mind, diversify and develop a mindset of “many interests.”

#Build relationships and always invite input

The ultimate aim, and benefit, of adopting a social media strategy is the ongoing creation of new inclusive relationships, which will give you a fresh perspective on new trends and help you understand, build, and co-create the future.

But what is perhaps more important is to maintain your “community.” Here authenticity is also essential. You have to be consistent, genuine, and ideally interact with your community (which is the most challenging part).

What’s Next?

What is surprising is that so many people don’t actively engage in social media discussions about our future. Most people (including Millennials) that I talk to still focus on the negative aspects of social media.

But, for me, it’s clear: smart and authentic social media use is the driver behind the cycle of self-learning and is the best way to get a deep understanding of the trends of 2019.

Thank you so much for reading! Please click (and hold) the 👏 below, or leave a comment.

There is a new story every week. So if you follow me you won’t miss my latest insights about how digital technologies are changing the way we live, work, and learn.

More by Erik P.M. Vermeulen

Topics of interest

More Related Stories