Erik Qualman, author of the social media bestseller “Socialnomics: How Social Media Transforms the Way we Live and Do Business” spoke at the recent TEDx conference at Lansing, Michigan on the future of social media.  The future, according to Qualman, is social commerce.

The 17 minute video is below, but in a nutshell Qualman’s vision of the future of social media is itself a specific vision of social commerce; where social media becomes a (social) shopping tool, in which shoppers tap their social graph for information, advice and feedback on purchases from their trusted social circle in order to make better buying decisions (friendsourcing/friendcasting).  No mention (yet) of social media tools such as social media stores, group-buy, referral programs, ratings and reviews etc. But it includes an updated version of his popular  “Social Media Revolution” YouTube video (also below).

Qualman’s entrance into the social commerce field will be a breath of fresh air – as he has firm views on social media ROI, and has hitherto seen social media primarily in terms of a communications channel for customer service.  Qualman argues that the idea of social media ROI is nonsense – in the same way that the ROI of paper – or any other communication medium, such as mobile telephony is nonsense (of course that leaves open the possibility of calculating ROI on social media marketing campaigns).  It’ll be interesting to see how his view evolves now that social commerce is the new Qualmanian black.