The End of Social

Last week Foursquare made an update that opened up to everyone, not just users. The available feature is called Explore, which users have known for a while. Explore uses your past check-ins, the check-ins of your friends and the behavior of others to recommend places you should go, including bars, restaurants, coffee shops, events and more. It’s all about making relevant recommendations for you.

Explore is available to everyone, whether they’re Foursquare users or not. With the update, became a local search engine, competing with the likes of Google and Yelp and evolving from being a casual social network with points and mayor ships to a recommendation utility powered by social data.

Social, Search or Something Else?

This represents a larger shift. Foursquare is more than a social network. It’s a search engine for where you should go and what you should do.

Apple Maps includes ratings and reviews for businesses from Yelp. It’s not just a maps app, it’s a ratings and reviews utility.

Facebook re-introduced its Gifts app, allowing you to send real world gifts to your friends right from Facebook. It’s a social network but also an ecommerce site.

Google and Bing use social signals to influence search rankings. Social media isn’t just an engagement tool; it’s an SEO tactic.

Everything is Different but Also the Same.

We’re in an age of convergence. Platforms are merging to have more features and improve their value propositions. Foursquare started as a location-based social network. Today, it’s becoming a location utility with social features. It’s done this while still maintaining its original functionality.

This shouldn’t be a surprise.

Everything is inherently social. Now, we’re starting to see it. Before social existed in a silo as separate apps, platforms and marketing tactics. Today, everything is social. The lines have blurred, and the distinctions between platforms are less defined.

Social Media’s Time is Coming to an End

Social media is at its best when it’s integrated. Let’s face it… It makes everything else better.

If your social media team is doing its job, its time is coming to an end. Social media should be integrated in all of your marketing efforts from search, to digital to PR to traditional and beyond. Everyone in the organization should have a social mindset, not just one team.

Marketers who start with a social idea, not a pre-conceived social tactic, will see integration start to happen. Marketers who try to force social will get just that—a forced social media tactic that, while being social, had more potential for integration across other channels.