The Future of Social Media
Social media is already changing fast. To understand where it’s going, we only need to look at the new trends.
My stepson, who is just 15 is always on Tik Tok, Discord, YouTube or Snap Chat. He prefers to watch videos on YouTube than longer programmes on Netflix. Through YouTube, he can watch content that is directly specific to him and most of it is educational. It may not be the kind of education we want him to be consuming, but through YouTube, he can learn to get better at Fortnite, see how to best spend his Fifa Coins and he watches a lot of stuff about World War 1, as he really wants to be a soldier when he grows up.
I haven’t abandoned Netflix just yet, but I am also a YouTube consumer, and watch content about entrepreneurialism and self development daily.
Discord is an interesting platform which is gaining popularity. Though Discord you can engage in different group chats about any specific topic. It was developed as a place where gamers can get together to discuss the games they play, but is now widely used about anything from starting a business when you’re under 20, to dealing with a certain mental illness. The more “businessesy” version would be joining a Slack channel where you can talk with specific people.
Snap Chat has essentially been copied by Instagram and Facebook. You can now share video stories and vlogs through those platforms. Although part of Snap Chats appeal to youngsters was the fact that the content can’t be seen by your family – because your Mum and Dad don’t use Snap Chat… Privately sent content disappears after being read, which means you can send wild messages to your friends and know that they can’t share it with anyone else.
Snap Chat also doesn’t have a big focus on how many followers you have, unlike Twitter or Instagram where followers are everything. Meaning you can happily create content to share with the people you want to see it, without having to adjust your whole lifestyle to up your follower count, as is the case with Instagram.
I am very impressed with Tik Tok. Like Snap Chat, Tik Tok has a younger user base. The video length is 60 seconds, and there is a high level of functionality on the app which means there’s much more you can do with your videos than you can on Instagram.
You can place your videos side by side to someone elses:
There are tonnes of video effects. You can slow down, speed up or reverse your videos. Any music track you apply to it can be slown down or sped up too.
The various functionalities on Tik Tok make it a platform where you are wondering how you can achieve new ideas with what you have available.
So what does all this tell us about where social media is going?
Here are my predictions:
- Social media will continue to go down a route where you can talk to people who are in specific categories that are relevant to your life. Communicating with real-life friends and family is not something everyone wants to do anymore. Why have Facebook at all when it’s full of people who you know in real life but haven’t seen in years or who you don’t want to see? Facebook has stifled creativity and open sharing by forcing people to use their real name. No one wants to post creative content when there is a change future employers, ex-girlfriends and the like will be searching for it.
- Open platforms like Twitter and Instagram will form tighter communities, organised by hashtags. We already see there being “types” of people on these platforms, political types, vegan types, mums etc. I think these are just going to narrow down even further.
- To match these specific communities, the content will have to get more specific. It won’t be enough to be a personal trainer or a business coach. You’ll need to be a personal trainer who creates content for postpartum vegan women, or a business coach who specialises in beauty e-commerce. With the whole of the world as your audience, there is still a vast number of people you will be able to reach if you narrow down.
- The functionality of apps will improve, making it easier to be more creative on social media, but hard to use well.
- The obsession with followers will decrease and an engaged, cult-like following will be more appreciated.
- Content will get shorter and longer. People want to read/watch content that is long and goes into real detail, and they will want to watch eye-catching 15-second videos.