Here is a big take away: Social Media is not hip and cool anymore. Walking here through the endless meeting rooms of SxSW in Austin, you still discover a mountain of applications, and a ton of cute shiny new tools. But clearly, not of that seems to get the audience go wow anymore.
The wow goes to the nice idea, the better implementation, the smart strategy. And… that is a good thing. Social Media is getting mature, it’s part of peoples reality. People use it to find their way around, locate sessions, comment on content, book cars and taxis and hotels, hunt for food.
The different applications on the smartphones are used, often on daily basis. There might be fewer applications in average per phone than a couple of months ago, but the applications that make it to the phones’ homepage are truly used, truly used, and become a integral part of peoples life. Most people even forget that the app or service they are using was once called Social Media. It turned into the stuff they use every day: tissues, car keys, chewing gum, twitter, facebook, google maps, foursquare.
Social media is mainstream, it is everywhere, and it slipped into people’s lives and became quietly ubiquitous. As people do not get excited about car keys and bottle openers any more, they do not get easily excited about social media anymore either.
Focus goes clearly on functionality: does it work, will it work better, smoother, quicker? Will it interact with my social ecosystem? Does it link to my social networks? Do I really need it? Does it enhance my life?
The crowd became picky, asking for proof before want. Having new is not cool anymore, having best in class is. That forces developers and strategists to shift down a gear, and to push the pedal to the metal: that download from the app store will from now on have to be earned. The days of cool and shallow are over. Social media, social media application need to become relevant. Relevancy just became the new black.