Guest post by Joey Strawn, president of Empty Jar Marketing and blogger at

I’m about to take you back to the future of social media. Because the future is here. Now.

Growing up, my favorite movies dealt with how the future would turn out. I would watch and re-watch “Logan’s Run,” “Blade Runner,” “Star Wars,” and of course, “Back to the Future, Part II.” When I was 11, I wanted nothing in the world more than a hoverboard.

Now that I’m “all grown up,” I still find myself obsessing about the future. Where will my business be in five years? When will I be able to pay off my mortgage? Are kids in our family plan? When? My dreams have changed from what filled my 11-year-old life to what fills it 15 years later; and now, more than anything, it is filled with the business of social media. (Of course, I still want that hoverboard.)

Like a Screen Door on a Battleship

How excited would you be if I told you I could predict the future of social media for you right now? Well, step into my DeLorean and strap in because here it comes. The future of social media is tied to this one, simple idea: Relationships.

If you’ve read “The Cluetrain Manifesto” or “Naked Conversations” or been reading Spin Sucks for very long, this shouldn’t come as a surprise to you. Honest, mutually beneficial human interactions are the future of social media. Now, if we only knew how to make those relationships worthwhile.

Getting Up to 1.21 Gigawatts

Embracing the future and getting up to speed isn’t always easy, but I’ve got three pretty easy steps to help us on our way.

  1. Go – Christopher Penn wrote a great blog post about how to get new business from social media. You can make your own business out of nothing (not easy to do), steal business from others (not looked favorably upon), or go to your customers. If you truly want to start building relationships with your target audience, go find them. Get out there and go to them. Do Internet searches and look in forums and actively search out your ideal customer. It will make them feel special.
  2. Converse – Don’t spray and pray your material. Hold real conversations with your customers. Ask them questions. Honestly answer theirs. Who better to tell you where your market sees themselves in three to five years than your market? When you honestly care about what your customers have to say, the things you’ll learn will surprise you.
  3. Stay – This might be the hardest step. Stay involved in the groups and forums you join. Let your market know you are part of their community. Be active in building the future you want for yourself; that way it’s easy to go back to.

Make Like a Tree and Get Outta Here

I live in the future every day. Things change so fast in social media that every day the sun rises, it’s the future. It’s up to us to decide the future.

So, what’s the future of social media?

Ask me tomorrow.

Joey Strawn is a blogger, husband, entrepreneur, and general purveyor of awesomeness and currently blogs at He is president of Empty Jar Marketing in Nashville, Tenn., and works with local and national businesses to increase business using digital marketing strategies.