What is next for social media?

What is next for social media?

The social media landscape is getting more and more fragmented. Traditional platforms are under increasing pressure from governments, competitors and new generations of users. Meanwhile, the future of social media is at stake, as companies are looking to embed their platforms in new tech trends.

A fragmented landscape

When major influencers like Kylie Jenner and Kim Kardashian start criticizing Instagram, it spells trouble for the platform. Many internet commenters contend Instagram’s days are numbered. Indeed, the mimicking of competitors and declining interaction rates are ominous signs that Instagram has an identity crisis. Furthermore, commodification and increasing social pressure between users are causing bottlenecks for the platform. Competitors like TikTok and BeReal respond to this by promising authenticity and digital togetherness as core values. There is skepticism of whether these platforms will deliver on their promises, but each of them appeals to users and their desires in different ways. Take for example the many Gen Z users who are tired of the pressure to display a perfect life or become famous on Instagram. However – among these alternative platforms – Instagram’s model of following celebrities and influencers, checking brand offers, and engaging in social commerce will also remain a viable market proposition. Therefore, instead of a single dominant platform, it is more likely that many platforms will play different roles, with users switching freely between them. The result is a more fragmented landscape.

Broaden Your Horizons

  • South Korea is fully embracing the metaverse, with the government taking the initiative. This article discusses how it could provide a blueprint for others.
  • An in-depth report from Pew Research Center revealed the habits of teens on social media. Since 2014, the share of those who use Facebook has plummeted from 71% to 32%. Meanwhile, TikTok has rocketed in popularity.
  • An AI-generated image recently won a state art competition in the US, fueling a debate on the nature of art itself.

Reinventing social media

In the long run, social media might not only become more fragmented, but also radically evolve as it becomes integrated in bigger tech trends. Already, new technologies threaten the traditional model of posts, likes and comments. Pivoting away from its core social network, Meta aims to build a virtual 3D-based platform in which we interact with each other in real-time. The gaming sector is already proving the success of this concept, with Roblox and Fortnite at the forefront. Many users adopt these 3D gaming platforms as virtual rooms in which they hang out or visit concerts. While this points to a change in how we interact, other innovations could change with whom we interact. Startups like Niche and DSCVR are using blockchain technology to build decentralized platforms, which allows users to monetize their own gated communities that focus on NFT ownership or shared hobbies, for instance. Whether or not social media users are ready to embrace web3 and the metaverse, the revolution seems well underway. If it succeeds, the 2D newsfeeds on our smartphones could become a part of internet history.

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