Technology. It seems like it’s infiltrating every facet of the human experience.
If you haven’t seen the show Black Mirror on Netflix, we highly recommend it! It’s a crazy anthology series of how technology is influencing our culture more and more every day. As time progresses, both in the show and IRL, fiction seems to become more realistic as developers and tech companies create nutty ideas that change the way we behave and socialize. Anthropologists may say our culture is losing a sense of social interconnectedness, but that isn’t stopping tech giants like Google and Facebook from creating platforms that further influence human interaction over the web.
As such, digital hangouts are on the rise. These platforms provide a space where a group of people can interact, socialize and “hang out” over cyberspace. Popular apps such as Google Hangouts, Slack and Zoom have mainstreamed the concept in a professional setting; however, other companies, such as Houseparty, are creating applications where people can socialize with their mobile devices. The concept is genius, especially as corporate America keeps us busy, which limits the time we have to spend with loved ones.
Some may argue that human interaction is becoming more artificial through these means, but with the rise of virtual reality you can bet that there will be a lot more creative adaptations to the concept.
So where do marketers like us come into the picture? Well, we can advertise within digital hangouts, especially on platforms that provide additional functions, such as the virtual shopping apps that are emerging. With experiential marketing trending and Millennials and Gen Z craving to share, curate and like each other’s experiences, digital hangouts create a perfect place where marketers can infiltrate the space and creatively advertise. Think about it: people are naturally inclined to spend more time with friends, even over digital. This creates an incredible opportunity to market to a group of people that may share similar interests. This also helps with the limited time we have available to market to a culture that’s always on-the-go.
Earlier this year Facebook, released a virtual hang out called Facebook Spaces*. The interesting platform allows users to interact as if they were together in person with a digital avatar using the Oculus VR headset. The platform allows people to watch videos together, take photos, draw and several other virtual activities. Although Facebook Spaces is still in its beta phase, we can bet that more applications like it will be debuting soon.
As our culture continues to fuse with technology, you can bet that our digital avatars will soon be boogying at a few cyber parties. The future of marketing sounds as crazy as The Twilight Zone, right? Well, buckle your seat belts fellow marketers; things are going to get a lot more interesting in 2018 and beyond!
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*UPDATE: As of 10/25/19, Facebook Spaces has become Facebook Horizon.