The Eclipse Of Social Media?

Is it possible we're beginning to witness the end of social media?  Let’s look at the data….

I wrote about Twitter last week, so no need to retread that column in its entirety.  Suffice  to say, the world will function just fine without Twitter, and it would appear advertisers feel much the same, since they have been pulling their budgets the more Elon pulls his antics.

I would be a little bit worried if I were TikTok. The last few weeks have seen state and federal governments begin to ban the platform on authorized devices, and the smoke seems to be intensifying. TikTok’s ownership is the issue.With ByteDance a Chinese company, there are significant concerns the Chinese government has access to the data being used and shared on TikTok.

This is not some minor legal issue.  This is a global, government-fueled challenge to the platform that cannot be ignored.  It will have to be dealt with in some manner for TikTok to continue its meteoric growth in the U.S.



Facebook usage has been on the decline as well, and now the platform is paying out $5 billion because of its issues with data privacy and GDPR.  Younger audiences don’t yet use Facebook like Gen-Xers and millennials.  The numbers are still impressive, but they are not growing at the same pace, and younger audiences are on other platforms (see previous paragraph).

The stalwarts of social media would still appear to be Instagram and LinkedIn, although the latter is focused on business usage rather than social.  Both these platforms seem to be holding strong. They tend to avoid the negative press associated with social media -- Instagram because it is focused on images, and LinkedIn because of the business angle, although business and personal seem very intertwined for people ages 25-49.

Social media has its place in society.  Anyone should have the ability to share what they choose to share, within reason.  But social media is fickle.  It tends to operate in cycles, with an initial hook, then fast growth, then a plateau. Some are eventually replaced over a period of three to four years by another platform that resonates more with a younger audience and delivers some form of value, whether it be professional or entertainment.

You see some interesting attempts come and go (Chatroulette, Clubhouse anyone?), but the world likes a few core platforms to focus on.   From my vantage point, it would appear we are in the beginning of that slowdown and shift cycle, but I have yet to see what platforms are next on the horizon.  For all the hullabaloo about VR, AR and the metaverse, not much has risen to the point of attention as of yet.

So does 2023 hold the future of social media, or will we see more of the same?

In only a few short days, we get to see!

Happy New Year, everyone!

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