As much as the wisest of the wise encourage us to live in the moment—counseling us that all that exists is this very moment and that focusing on yesterday and tomorrow deprive us of the gift of being here now—most of us, it seems, worry about the future and analyze the past. Engineers at the top technology companies are on the case, though.
Until recently, all social media activity has been focused squarely on the past. Either you posted content from the present so it could be seen in the immediate past, or you were looking at content that was produced and posted in the past by someone else. Now we have live streaming, which presumably puts the creator and consumer in the present moment. Augmented, or enhanced, reality also emphasizes the present moment.
This doesn't help us escape our incessant worries about the future—specifically, our technological future. Silicon Valley engineers labor to develop products that envelope us in the now, but those very labors drive concerns in the hearts of professional communicators about tech's next direction. Brand communicators are paid to worry about technological trends. If they fall out of step with technology, their brands might fall out of step with the people they're trying to sell their products and services to.
These sleep-killing concerns are at the heart of PR News' Social Shake-Up Show, which will be held May 22-24 in Atlanta. We've programmed three multi-tracked days that feature top communicators at top brands wrestling with the tech developments that are shaking up the way we communicate with each other and the way we live.
We recently surveyed attendees for the upcoming Shake-Up, asking them a couple of basic questions: which social media platform is their main focus in their work life, and what do they want to learn about most at the Shake-Up.
Judging by the responses to the first question, the past—in the form of relatively ancient social media platforms—has a pretty firm grip on the 80 professional communicators who responded to the survey. Half of the respondents focus mainly on Facebook in their work lives; coming in second was Twitter (one-quarter of the respondents focus most of their workday social media activity on the platform).
Their responses to the second question—what they want to learn about most at the Shake-Up Show—varied greatly, but one theme dominated. Many of them are concerned about new, emerging trends in social media. So, like most of us, they've got one foot in the past and are worried about what their other foot is about to step into. The present? To paraphrase Scarlett O'Hara, let's think about it tomorrow.
Live in the present and register today to attend the Social Shake-Up in Atlanta.
—Steve Goldstein, editorial director, PR News @SGoldsteinAI