I need to understand how the internet will develop in the next few years, so that I can better manage my social media investments. Will there be more and more shit storms? Will a new service culture be established, and if so, what will it be like?

For now, the future is unclear, but a few things can be extrapolated when we consider past developments. I can see three trends emerging:

1. Social media is changing the supposed benefit in the relationship between business and customer.

While social media is traditionally more an outlet for latent frustration, they are increasingly becoming a platform for direct communication. The customer understands and happily uses this offer. The new messenger service from Facebook, and its customization options will strengthen this trend.

2. As in all cases in which businesses speak to their customers, it is important to close the loop with active customers. The customer should be encouraged to be active. Activating customers will be at the centre of many new tools.

3. It is becoming especially apparent, that digital transformation will lead to many new channels of interaction. Social media loses importance in the overall picture of the contact between business and customer. 5G telecommunication technology (the first experimental networks are already in operation) is more about interaction than communication.

This creates the impression that internet users are slowly emerging from adolescence. The customer is more mature online and gets into a routine of direct communication. This represents an opportunity to activate customer relationships. However, whilst this door is opened, it will have an impact on many internal processes. My investments for the future cannot only be about technology.