Tess Jennings: Recently, I read a fascinating article from Metro UK that looked at whether social media sites were slowly dying. Initially, I found this a rather absurd thought. Social media has revolutionized the way we communicate–how could these channels be dying? However, the more I read, the more I wondered if this claim actually had merit. For instance, the DailyMail reported that a third of millennials permanently deleted all of their social media sites. In 2018, Twitter reported only having 335 million users, 1 million less than the previous quarter and a sharp decline from years prior. Instagram, with it’s decision to remove likes from some US users, begs the question if users will still flock to the space if they can no longer like content. And, we don’t even need to mention Snapchat’s sudden decline thanks to Kylie Jenner labelling it as no longer cool.
Facebook is a great example of a platform feeling the heat to stay relevant and useful for users. This fascinating video from Mike Gastin looks deeper at Facebook’s current problems, and news publications are reeling over Facebook’s flopped dating platform. In Metro UK’s article, it also looks at Mark Zuckerberg’s recent announcement that Facebook will transition to more of a private social media platform. If this is true, and that we’ll suddenly be able to connect in a more intimate setting over Facebook, would this appeal to Facebook’s users? If it does, Facebook is one of the top leaders in the social media game, so I’m sure other social media sites like Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, Youtube, Snapchat, and the infamous Tik Tok, will follow suit to become more private social media platforms. If this does happen, I can’t help but think that more private social media platforms are completely against all that our most popular social media sites were setup to do in the first place. Private social media, although helpful in some circumstances, would do it’s small part in halting global two-way conversation.
After digging a little deeper into this topic, I don’t think social media sites are dying at all. As humans, we have an inherent need to connect, and social media provides us a fantastic the outlet to do so. I don’t think social media will ever go away because our desire for community, to share ideas, and for creativity is so strong. However, I do think social media platforms are just becoming something new. I’m curious to see what will become of social media platforms like Facebook in the coming years, and how these changes will impact how we, as communicators, send messages to our audiences. Like social media sites, so too do we need to change our methods to make our messages as impactful as possible.
What do you think–is social media dying?