The future of social technology in one enormous mindmap

I have done quite a few hours of interviews, plus a workshop, to try and gather together ideas for how social technology might develop over the next 15 years. I’ve spoken to as wide a group of people as possible, from tech entrepreneurs to CTOs to activists to 3rd sector experts, and I’ve had a massive amount of information and ideas to process.

I’ve made a start with that processing by distilling everything down into keywords and phrases, and then grouping them together in a sensible manner and making the mother of all mindmaps to try and impose some order on it all. I’ve put aside for now the concept of type of change, e.g. predetermined or uncertain, and instead tried to find similarities in theme instead. It makes for an interesting view – you’ll need the full size image to read the text, though, or download the PDF.


There’s undoubtedly stuff that’s missing from this mindmap. It’s not supposed to be all encompassing – indeed, I don’t think that would be possible – but I did notice that no one really talked about gaming, for example. Now that may not ultimately affect the scenarios that I’m going to be writing because so much of what’s important on this map is not about specific technologies but more about behaviours, cultural shifts, etc. That said, if you’re into gaming and want to add your thoughts in the comments I would love to have my intuition double-checked! Equally, if you think I’ve missed anything else that you feel is crucial, please comment.

My next task is to try to pull out a sense of movement from these themes, and to come up with some scenarios. Expect another blog post soon!

4 thoughts on “The future of social technology in one enormous mindmap

  1. How about the move towards standard data formats and open protocols, and the effects this will have? A couple of the items on the mindmap (e.g. ‘dashboarding’, ‘information filtering’, ‘connection types will consolidate’) are somewhat reliant on this movement in a technological sense, but I think it may have a big effect on the culture and mindset of general users of social media as well.

    A substantial part of getting involved in social web participation at the moment is one’s decision to start using a specific tool because it has certain features, or to join a specific network/site because that’s where your friends are. In a rosy future where there is less reliance on proprietary tools, and fewer walled gardens, there’s potential for a big perception shift from social media tools/networks/content as separate individual entities to seeing them as more like a universal commodity.

    Social media (publishing, sharing, commenting) stops being a destination in itself, a self-contained activity you go and do every now and then, and starts being just part of the fabric of everyday life, like email and texting already is to most people.

    Like I say, I think this is touched on or implied by some of the items you have already, but it’s something I’m particularly interested so I thought I’d bring it up!

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  3. Yeah, I’m surprised we didn’t hear more about standard formats and open protocols, so thanks for bringing that up!

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