Social media is a very different place to what it was 10 to 15 years ago. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram were places you went to be, well… social. Your friends and family were all there – sharing updates, sharing photos, sharing interesting things from around the web. In this writer’s experience at least, on all my feeds, it’s no longer my friends I see. I see ads, I see brands, I see celebrities and I see posts by people I don’t know.
Everyone was on these social apps, so brands, content creators and advertisers flocked to where their audience was. It’s a very different landscape now on those apps than it was just a decade ago. It’s not surprising these social media apps are not where you will find the younger generations these days predominantly. They are on Tik Tok, they are on snapchat (both of which fall into some of the same trappings).
There are even apps popping up that try to go back to the old way of things. The aptly named ‘Retro’ is an app for example that operates much like instagram – but strips aways filters and follower counts. Only your friends you have selected can like and comment on your content. Nothing is shared outside your circle.
But increasingly, we are seeing the emergence of, instead of social media apps, social discovery apps. They are putting the social aspect back into social apps. A party that everyone is at sounds great in principle – and that is what Twitter, Facebook and Instagram became. But after a while, that’s a lot of people competing for the same air space. We’ve all been to those parties, in the end, you break off into smaller groups, to places you can be heard. That’s what the shift from social media to social discovery is like.
People are seeking apps in which they can be heard and valued by other real people, not brands, celebrities and influencers. Somewhere they can actually be social and make friends.