Let's talk about social networking popularity
Are social-media sites still social?
As we are fast approaching 2013, social networking popularity has continued to build new communities and bridge connections around the globe. In this article, I would like to talk about social networking and the popularity of new social media sites, how we use them and perhaps even add a little touch of prediction in terms of the future of social-platforms. Whether you are a CEO of a major global corp, or a teen secretly hatching plans to sneak out from home and get completely wasted, social media has become part the staple diet of the internet populace and therefore, I also believe these considerations are relevant to most reading this.
So to begin, let’s talk about choices. As we all know choice, competition and variety provides many benefits to end users, at least that is the principle. In the case of social networks however, you could argue that choice also has many detrimental effects too. As more social platform seeds are sewn into the sediment of the net, growth will naturally begin to tend towards catering more niche communities. Instead of one house for everyone, multiple rooms in varying styles have been built up that although great for groups, ultimately segregate the wider global audience into their own social bubbles. I love diversity, even better, challenging my way of thinking and as a result, I felt motivated to throw this up for debate.
Let me explain further, I have had my Google Nexus 7 tablet for a couple of months now, the level of portability mobile devices have to offer is great, as a result I can now lazily sit in bed, whilst also doing something productive, at least that is my excuse. Mobile devices have certainly reignited my interests in using social media sites, networks and platforms; I now have the burning desire to be more social over the net. However, as I pick up my tablet and click my specially created “social” tab, I face a slight problem.
I am bombarded with a wall of social media sites available not only on browsers, but even for app stores and consoles. Whether you pick up a mobile, tablet or prefer the old-school ways of the desktop, chances are you will have at least a few social media icons and bookmarks that eventually begin to cry out for your attention like a symphony of unchanged babies. As a young 21 year old, I feel burdened by the responsibilities of having to update these networking sites, even worse, diligently having to maintain a meaningful social connection between all friends, contacts, followers, acquaintances etc across each platform. The wall of social networks, as seen in the photo, all provide valuable unique features, all have great selections of wise professionals and inspiring people to learn from and talk to. The problem is once you begin to utilise and appreciate each platform, you begin to put less effort and attention into the other social media sites. Once you have joined a few dozen then your social presence becomes minimal at best, this my friends is the beginning of the end; defeat in an uphill battle in the sea of social media.
I love analogy and metaphor; I am a visual person so bear with me. So you walk into a bar, (no this is not the begging of a bad joke with racist undertones (sorry), you just intend to meet some friends. So as you walk through the door you notice a slight issue, each friend is sitting in their preferred corner of the room, unless you bring them all together in the middle of the room you better get used to doing some walking from corner to corner. As you can imagine, this situation would be problematic. This pub analogy brings me neatly to my predictions so stick with me. I predict one of two extremes will occur.
Localised social networking
One idea is that as more use social networks, the walls of the pub will grow larger. That also means friends in their individual corner of the room will grow further apart, going from friend A to B will grow more strenuous as the distance grows. Sure the internet is instantaneous so what is this distance I am referring to; well I do not define the ‘walking distance’ as the two bookmark links sitting next to each other in your browser. To put it another way, you have just been on a holiday, you now want to share the experience with others over social media sites. The problem is, one social network group will want mostly quality photos of the sights, another group will expect a detailed well written article and another social group will only pay attention if your experience is reduced down to, “Holiday was great LOLZ!” over 100 words and they will give up and start watching a 10min video of cat memes. This ‘walking distance’ I refer to is essentially how you communicate, everything from language, to content needs to be optimised. In a local social network for best results you will need to speak the same language. My localised idea as a result is more problematic, at least for those who wish to use a diverse range of social platforms, as I do.
Globalised social networking
So onto my second prediction, globalization. Although Facebook for example has somewhat of a monopoly in the social industry it still has its own language and users treat it differently from say Google Plus or Twitter. I believe it is very possible that eventually users will get tired of their favourite social media sites; even the heavyweights, yes I did just say that. This might be due to stagnation, perhaps even because they lack some features from other social media sites. I am not predicting the end of social media, far from it. Eventually some soon to be mega millionaire will eventually capitalize, I am sure of it. I suspect a social media site will be released that brings together all the social networks and groups, back into one place. This transition I expect will take time, many will try and fail, until a perfect recipe is concocted, in fact I doubt I am first with this idea and I am sure a few have tried and failed already. I assume current popular social networks will have to weaken before this starts to occur, perhaps they will even start to merge, look at Facebook’s takeover of Instagram, the signs are there.
So those are two predictions, I look forward to watching how social networks grow, I would say that one of the two is inevitable, perhaps one before the other. I would personally like to see a more globalised approach, I want to utilise a great number social features whilst not having to have a split personality sharing content on different platforms.
As a result I would like to ask, which social media sites do you use?
Surely others face these same issues, whether you are a freelancer, marketer, businessman or simply a general social network user with friends who will not stick to one network. I would like to ask you guys and girls, yes you, to add some input to this article. Could it be that I am the only one drowning in the sea of social media sites? I would like to know what platforms you use, why you use them and also how do you split time between them? Do you still manage to actually be social? I aim to take on my social networks; I will not let the icons defeat me! In fact if enough designers, programmers and so on feel the same, why not put a team together and make social networking social again. To end, thanks for reading, I hope you took away something useful from all of this, I am new to blogging and this is a new site so be social and leave a comment or share, thanks.