How has social media changed over the decade?
The ending second decade of our century and 10 years of experience in working in marketing and social media inspired me to prepare this in-depth analysis. On the one hand, it is not worth dwelling on what was, on the other hand, looking again at the whole process from the beginning helps to draw more reliable conclusions for the future. Social media is definitely not what it was 10 years ago today. Their nature and purpose have changed, and the number of users has increased. Maybe the time has come to consider whether their development is going in the right direction when it comes to the “average Kowalski”.
The development of social media and its impact on people should undoubtedly be considered the most important event of the past decade . They are a social and psychological phenomenon, but also a business, technological and political phenomenon. There is practically no sphere of our life and functioning that they do not concern. Until a few years ago, there were discussions about the collapse of Facebook, which was almost synonymous with social media. Now no one admits to such a thought. Even if the Zuckerberg empire loses its position, social media will stay. Anyway, all attacks on Facebook in the form of summonses to committees, attempts to impose taxes, and forcing the sale of certain websites are only a confirmation that a beast has been born in the last 10 years. The beast that can do anything.
Social media and user count
Currently, practically every second inhabitant of our planet uses them. And there is probably a reserve of 1 or 2 billion. The population of our planet is growing quite fast, generations change, which also contributes to increasing the potential of users. There is no doubt that the development of technology in the form of smartphones and internet access played a huge role in this process. 10 years ago, about a billion people used social networking sites, today some studies say even 4.
Within a decade, social media has become a global must-have from frills and fashion, which can take even a few hours of time. It is a revolution that should be put in line with the development of the automotive industry or the proliferation of television sets.
Social media users in Poland and around the world
A multitude of social networking sites in the world
I wrote earlier that even 10 years ago Facebook was identified with social media. Today, this is not the case anymore, despite the fact that thanks to the acquisition of such applications as Instagram and Whatsapp, Facebook is the largest ecosystem of social applications in the world. There is still Twitter, Youtube, Pinterest, and the young TikTok is developing dynamically. In addition, micro-services are constantly emerging, focused around specific groups of people, interests, attitudes, etc. They also fall under the broad definition of social media.
Social media has become a way of life, an important element of building and maintaining relationships with other people . It also turns out that each new generation is looking for a new solution dedicated to itself. This is one of the reasons why TikTok has joined the ranks of other social giants in less than 5 years.
Today, creating a social networking site is not a technological challenge. All you need is money. However, even if we have a huge number of them, we will not be successful without an idea, without understanding the needs of users. There is also no chance of creating a “second Facebook”, ie a website for everyone. You always have to think about a niche. Perhaps the next website that will join the pantheon of social gods will be one that will be distinguished by anonymity and resignation from tracking or collecting user data? The only question is, what will the service survive on 😉
Octopus grip social media
Every new technology, invention goes through certain stages. First, it is available to the selected (Facebook in the first years was only available after receiving an invitation). Then, as access spreads, more users experience the excitement of the novelty. They check its every function, play with it, test it (searching and checking friends’ accounts on social networking sites, dynamically building a group of friends). Remember what you did when you bought your first car or computer – the first few weeks were mainly for entertainment. In the final stage, when technology is generally available, we look for opportunities and ways to use technology to improve our lives, achieve professional and personal goals, and so on. It is at this stage that social media in the world are at present. Business and politics have noticed the opportunities they offer and they draw from social media by handfuls (you can read more about it in my book “Understanding social media”).
And just as 10 years ago social networking sites provided us mainly with contact with loved ones, spontaneous exchange of content, now they are surrounded by octopus tentacles. Business uses them to sell their products, politics to change the attitudes of the electorate, celebrities to build their popularity, which translates into higher earnings. Let’s add to this the ever-tightening tentacle of censorship, content control and political correctness. By the way – the Internet and social media were to be a free medium, unhampered in its ten-year-old assumptions. Today it’s getting harder and harder to admit that.
The development of social media and smartphones has meant that we have also changed the way we consume content in the digital world. A decade ago, we watched rectangular photos with at most medium resolution, we read text statuses, the video was something new, and no one even thought about live coverage. Television had a monopoly on them. In 2010, Instagram was created, which started a revolution by offering users square photos, i.e. in the 1: 1 format. This was due to the fact that this application was intended for smartphones from the very beginning. It turned out to be a hit. Another revolution happened thanks to Snapchat, which went a step … even two steps further and spread the new format. These are stories, i.e. rectangular graphics or videos that take up the entire smartphone screen and disappear after watching or after a certain time. This format was quickly picked up by other websites, including Instagram (see how to make interesting Instagram Stories). TikTok developed it by offering so-called “reels”. These new content formats have awakened the creativity of social media users, keeping them on hold for longer.
Social media in the coming decade
Let’s continue the theme of the content revolution. It is mainly determined by technology and new devices for content consumption. Only then do we adjust the formats to them. At the moment, I can see three development paths in the new decade: virtual reality, lenses / glasses, holograms. It is these technologies that can make the next revolution. The only question is whether the current social media leaders will adapt to the revolution, or whether social networking sites will be created, as was the case with Snapchat or TikTok. In the case of virtual reality, the answer is obvious. Facebook already bought Oculus in 2014, which is one of the first companies producing sets for using the benefits of virtual reality. Currently, Oculus equipment is a leader in its category, and the value of the entire market (along with the augmented reality that includes the mentioned lenses and glasses) may increase up to seven times in the next 4 years!
Paid feeds with content
On average, at least 1,500 posts / content appear (or at least should) in a Facebook user feed every day. It is given a few years ago, so the number is probably much higher now. If we take into account that on average we spend about 2 seconds on one post, we can see how much time social media takes us. Remember that these are numbers only for Facebook, and there are several websites that we devote the same or more time to. I have already mentioned a certain hygiene that we learn using social media. We are more picky when deciding who to observe, with whom to make friends. Everything has two goals: keeping your privacy safe and ensuring yourself an engaging and interesting feed with your content. Over the years, we’ve also learned one more thing: paying for content. We are willing to pay a subscription to Netflix, Spotify and many other services. Why shouldn’t we pay creators for content? For example, a dollar a month for monthly access and you choose 10-20 people. Currently, websites such as OnlyFans are developing more and more dynamically. You will probably say that this is a pornographic and erotic site. And I will bounce you the ball with the information that at the moment such content is about 60 percent. Besides, if a website or application is initially used to distribute porn and erotica, it needs to be looked at even more, because it has a good chance of success in the future. Examples should not be looked far: the mentioned Snapchat has grown because it was used for sexting, and Skype … guess for yourself.
And how do you think social media has changed in the last 10 years?
What can we expect in the near future?
Share your opinion in the comment!
Trendy social media 2021