The evolution of social media is a hard one to predict. Though it grows exponentially, it is tough to say in what direction it will grow and flourish, and which avenues it will take that will die off, or never see the light of day.
Wearable social media is one of the more promising avenues and a fitting evolution of screen/app/internet based social media outlets. The goal of this new technology is to accelerate the development of relationships between the like-minded. This new technology has the potential to be a very potent tool in instantly connecting those with relevant interests whether that be culturally, economically, socially, etc. It bypasses the screen dependency of modern social media, with a more interactive, social and real life application. After all, the irony of most social media is that to use it, you have to be somewhat antisocial, at least in real world terms.
In a more specific example, a group of MIT students have developed and prototyped a T-Shirt with Social features integrated into the very fibres. It allows the wearer to signal to other wearers of the garment your likes and interests with something as simple as a touch on the shoulder or a hand shake. The shirt is paired with a smartphone app which links all your critical data akin to syncing music onto your iPod, and using the shirt is as simple as syncing, putting it on, and going out and interacting. The haptic feedback will alert you to other users in a radius of 12 feet, and Thermochromic ink will relay the messages from shirt to shirt (after initiated with touch), making communication seamless, instantaneous and expressive.
Modern day life has put a very high focus on efficiency. From business to education to leisure, efficiency is the turbine which powers our economies and daily living. Although the efficiency of screen based social applications cannot be undermined, with billions of users being invested in usage everyday, there is always room to grow and expand. New technology such as the T-shirt being developed by MIT puts an emphasis on real world social interactions and being hyper expressive whilst not neglecting efficiency in the process. It can be used in varying situations and by communities of all sorts whether that is self organized, brand and business minded communities, or even in schools and universities. It brings the social to social media, and has the potential to create more genuine real life interactions. It puts us in the position of looking for real life validation and conversations, not likes and DMs. In a generation where more and more people are choosing to sit in front of their computer screens, smartphones and tablets for “social interaction”, rather than meeting up face to face, such a simple but needed innovation can be revolutionary.