April 13, 2021

Is Social Media Dying?

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?

TessJennings.com; LinkedIn; Twitter

9 thoughts on “Is Social Media Dying?

  1. Tess, this is fascinating. I agree with you – I don’t think social media is dying. However, I do think the way that users are engaging with social media might be making a shift. With Instagram removing likes (so glad you didn’t write about this because I am planning on making my blog post about it…stay tuned), I think social platforms are looking for users to have more “meaningful” engagement and interactions and likes are potentially becoming less of a relevant metric in terms of social media use.

    I guess we will have to see what is to come with how future organizations shape the way social media is being used and what new platforms might come out of it all.

  2. Interesting finds, Tess! I agree, I don’t think social media sites are dying. I also agree that social media will never go away. Social media has moved from personal use and made its way into the work environment with workplace collaborations tools including Workplace by Facebook, Slack, Microsoft Teams, etc. As you pointed out, we as humans have a desire for community but I’m finding that we also have a need for interaction. Social media sites/apps allow humans to interact with people all over the world. Great post!

  3. Thanks for the thought-provoking post, Tess. As I ponder the question you pose at the end of the blog, I find myself landing in a place of feeling that the original intent of social media platforms is dying, but not necessarily the platforms themselves. Let me explain.

    We’ve discussed Facebook at length in previous classes, so I’ll use it as an example. When I joined Facebook in spring of 2006, it was just college students; you needed a .edu email address to even join the social network. By the end of that year, anyone over the age of 13 could join. The next year, Facebook started selling ads. Each shift created a significant change in my newsfeed and user experience. These days, Facebook seems like less of a connector tool and more of an echo chamber. (Thank you, algorithms!) I wonder if the founders of Twitter ever thought it would become the communiqe tool-of-choice for the President of United States, trolls, and for people to @/call out businesses when the service takes too long or American Airlines loses their luggage for the third time.

    Maybe a more appropriate way to phrase it is that the purpose of platforms is evolving rather than dying. I suppose time will tell.

  4. Tess, I agree with your assessment that social media is not dying. I found this line interesting: “Social media platforms are in significant turmoil, and consumers grow increasingly distrustful of the information they read online” (Metro UK). I think social media gets a bad knock sometimes, because of the unintended consequences that have forced us to aggressively rethink privacy, fake news and lack of credibility in a short period of time. But it wasn’t that long ago when people stopped reading newspapers and watching national television news for the very same reasons, and as it turns out, traditional media like print is still not dead.

    Perhaps we will see a resurgence of traditional forms of communication (good, old-fashioned face-to-face conversation, anyone?) as people begin to seek more private spaces. I am also interested in learning more about how job creation will unfold – what new social media jobs, skills, and titles we can expect to see supporting this new future that Zuckerberg references.

  5. I agree with you Tess. I don’t think social media is dying but they are rapidly changing on many aspects, such as usage, popularity, positions etc. Facebook definitely changed itself into a totally different platform now compare to just a few years ago. Now the major tabs include a video and marketplace feed. Even Facebook is trying to create original video content to attract new users, specifically younger audience. They realize that they need to change in order to be competitive and relevant. In my opinion, Twitter is not doing as great of a job to be innovative. It was still a shame for them to give up Vine that early since Tik Tok and IG TV, which have similar features to Vine, are gaining more and more popularities.

  6. Unfortunately, I don’t believe social media is truly dying, I think the population of users is just getting dispersed. I think that millennials are perhaps becoming more conscious consumers of the social media apps available to them and are focusing on those that are bringing them the most joy or that align more with their values.

    For younger generations, however, I think that new social media platforms will continue to trend. Perhaps what we will see now will be waves of users growing up with a trending platform, only to eventually disregard it in their adulthood if the app does not continue to adapt to that generations’ changing values and sentiments.

  7. Great resources and supporting materials, Tess. I agree with Krissie — social media is here to stay. The user-base is spread across discrete platforms and as more literacy around positive social media consumption habits filters through the culture users will hopeful limit their social media use. The big players (Facebook) will continue to iterate their platforms as new competitors sprout making it increasingly difficult for one social media company to fully consume exiting platforms’ user base.

  8. Like others have said, I think social media is changing rather than dying out, but what’s astounding to me is the rate at which it’s evolving. Social media platforms are going from new to “no longer cool” way more quickly than communication technology we’ve seen in the past, like telegrams or landlines or even AIM. An example that stands out to me is Yikyak, which was launched in 2013. It was really popular, especially my sophomore year of undergrad, but it lost about 3/4 of its users in 2015 and is now completely obsolete. For those of us who use social media a lot for work, staying up-to-date and relevant online is going to be an ongoing challenge.

  9. I’ve always hoped that Gen Z would be the ones to take social media, make it their own, and make it into something better. I’m glad they are moving away from platforms that aren’t what they want (Facebook) and moving to platforms that fill their needs (TikTok). Will they use social media less as adults? I hope so. After all, it’s the kids who grow up with the technology who have the most ability to create change to make that technology suit their uses and gratifications.

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