An online graveyard exists of our social media profiles we no longer maintain or care about. Fifteen years ago, we would check MySpace daily. We would update our profiles and our music interests. Ten years ago, we would check Facebook daily. We would poke our friends and post on our friends’ walls. Five years ago, we would check Instagram daily. We would like pics of our friends’ vacation trips and post our own successes. Now, we use TikTok. We post dancing videos and let insecurities be drilled into us by skincare TikTok. Eventually, it will fall into the social media graveyard like the others while another forms. Are we treating social medias like video games for our personalities, which we inevitably bore of? How can creators stay ahead of the grain and be on top of the different kinds of social media?
Why Do Socials Keep Dying?
Well, that’s a philosophical question. In retort: are we ever really satiated? Social medias show certain sides of our personalities. Facebook was the ideal marketplace for seemingly everything. For example, it had a personal page that had all your information on it, everything from education to birthdays. It had photo albums and status updates. People who knew you could talk to you in front of all your friends on your wall. You could show off your favorite books and movies. Facebook seemingly gave the viewer everything that they wanted in a social media. Everything about a personality was on screen and available. While MySpace wasn’t as open or engineered towards socializing, Facebook was the perfect landscape to do so. It spread beyond college campuses and into the computers of grade schoolers, graduates and retirees.
The Birth and Death of Twitter and Instagram
Twitter started and people slowly lost interest in Facebook. Perhaps not wanting a social media so general, with all information so available, Facebook lost users. It offered specified content, without pictures and just updates. Twitter offered celebrity presence, a previously unknown luxury. No longer did the public have interest in their own personal circles. The status updates and thoughts of celebrities became more interesting. People flocked to their favorite reality TV star, musician or actor’s Twitter to see what they had to say. Facebook only provided the lives of our friends — how dull! Evidently, it was the update of celebrity and the expansion of the online social circle from those you know personally, to those you want to know personally, that pushed people from Facebook.
Soon after, Instagram offered a visual equivalent to Twitter. Upgraded from written content, the photographic/video element of Instagram was easier to absorb. Celebrities using Instagram as a PR move was the move. Regular citizens were now able to add celebrities to their same online exposure as their friends. Celebrities became the average Instagram user’s friends online. The visual communication was much easier to absorb and much more appetizing. Instagram had upgraded what Twitter had given. A social media that specified a person’s profile down to a certain element, but focused on their photos rather than their words was better for the public. The focus on visual made it easier for influencers to blur the line between old and new celebrity. Celebrity and content became Instagram-focused.
The Come Up of TikTok
TikTok began to swallow Instagram when it improved in two ways. One, it was all video content, while Instagram often offered pictures. A video is worth a thousand pictures. Of course, people grew more interested in content that felt to “speak back” to them. TikTok’s interface trumped Instagram’s, it was easier to use and more addictive. While Instagram’s home and search pages were repetitive and made an easy exit for the user, TikTok seems infinite. The non-stop scrolling function of TikTok makes it impossible to escape. While Instagram’s feed was more difficult to configure to the user’s interests, TikTok seems to do it effortlessly. TikTok’s audio functions helps users connect with one another over mutual experiences. Instagram had been swallowed by another social media.
YouTube’s Constant Success
All the while, YouTube has acted as the social media for long-form video content. But, it isn’t as prevalent or adored as the aforementioned. YouTube’s platform offers long and short form video content for users. If anything, YouTube has been slowly gaining or maintaining traction since its inception. Luckily, it seems video content in longer form is here to stay. The educational, informative, entertainment, lifestyle, artistic and musical content that YouTube offers has been growing on people. YouTube’s platform, unlike the others that have died out or are losing popularity, isn’t necessarily a social-based app. The other applications focus more on socializing than YouTube does. Until another app can either replace something missing from YouTube or improve on something it has, it seems unlikely that it’ll be swallowed by a competitor in the near future.
How Can Influencers Bend To Different Socials?
There are influencers or creators who are successful across all platforms. Those who have jumped from platform to platform successfully – as a means of maintaining relevance and thus maintaining income – have enjoyed the more successful careers social media has to offer. Influencers have to question what the flaws with one social media are and what the could future bring. If they find that TikTok’s flaws bother them enough, other users might feel the same way. They also have to be updated on the newest social medias and how they operate, the language used on them, and how to access people on these applications. Often, influencers will branch out into new applications before they’re big, in the off chance that they become successful.
Knowing the lingo and how to use an app is vital. Maintaining a media persona that translates well onto all applications makes a creator more palatable across platforms. Coming across as natural and personable is important. Knowing the audience of the application and what they want from creators or how a brand can fit into a new application is important. For example, Instagram’s audience wanted someone fun, personable and authentic. TikTok’s audience want someone honest, funny and charming.
Creators can, of course, bend to new apps and realize themselves as an online figure, not just an Instagram/Twitter/TikTok figure. Considering the application and what it’s missing can prepare users for the upcoming one and what to do about their image to maintain their following.
Featured image by Sandy Millar of UNSPLASH.COM