Regulation is coming

California’s landmark law to protect user data, the California Consumer Privacy Act, will take effect on Jan. 1. The legislation is meant to protect people’s information as they spend more time online, giving them more knowledge about what data is being collected about them, and where it is being sold and disclosed to.

This is just the tipping point for the largely unregulated social media and online world. As people become more aware of how their online activity is being used, whether it is to target advertising or political messages, they will put more pressure on government officials to protect their personal information. At the same time companies that rely on data for advertising, especially giants like Facebook and Google, will have to work with legislators to comply while growing their businesses.

Teens will become more conscious about the emotional effect of social media

With younger generations relying on mobile phones as their communication conduits, they are more online than any previous generation. About 95 percent of teens have access to a smartphone ⁠— and a little under half of them are online on a “near-constant basis” according to a Pew study.

Interesting enough, a quarter of teens told Pew they felt social media had negative effects on their lives. Facebook use itself has been linked to unhappiness, while a University of Pennsylvania study showed that limiting social media use to 30 minutes a day could lead to a decrease in feeling lonely or depressed.

Armed with the knowledge about the positives and negatives of social media, since there is more research than ever before, today’s teens will be more aware of the effects having an Instagram-perfect life could have on their well-being.

TikTok Won’t Stop

Teens still watch about 20 hours of television a week, but they’re also more likely to find their entertainment through other avenues like YouTube. A lot of this content relies on user-generated material, leading to the rise of creator-made shows, and clips and memes becoming the viral watercooler topics of today.

Enter TikTok: An entertainment platform perfect for people with short attention spans but a lot of creative energy. Instead of simple passive comments about the world or mundane facts about your day, TikTok allows people to share performances to help inspire, entertain, or get people talking. For the creators themselves, it’s one way to stand out in a crowded world and know you made a difference thanks to view counts. It’s why the platform is poised to take over in the next decade.

Welcome the era of social commerce

Online retailers have always struggled with getting people to buy things right after they see it online. Shoppers usually see an ad, put it in a digital cart and maybe come back to purchase it later on, if at all.

Thanks to Instagram however, companies are having more success with people purchasing things directly from an ad. As the behavior to click-through advertisements to purchase an item immediately becomes more comment, more ad dollars will flow from traditional brick-and-mortar store marketing to digital advertising inside social feeds. And, as messaging apps become more prominent, a greater number of people will get used to chatting with chatbots to get that customer experience rather than talk to a salesperson in-store.

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