Little over 15 years ago, social media wasn’t a part of everyday life for most people. In fact, even a decade ago, many people outside of those still in the education system weren’t using social media. Now, it is a core part of the lives of many, helping to connect people with their friends and helping brands to connect to a wider audience.
While social media platforms used to fill their individual niches of the market, the big names have continued to improve and evolve to stay relevant and avoid going the way of sites like Bebo and MySpace. Most social media platforms now offer many different ways for people to connect such as Snapchat, which used to offer simple image-to-image communication, now hosting a proper text messaging system.
One of the newest revelations in the social media space that shows how these big names are continuing to evolve is that of Instagram’s new ‘Checkout’ feature. Announced earlier this year, the new feature will bring people and products together as it will allow users to buy products from within the app, with a focus on fashion and beauty products.
A continued need to evolve
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It’s crucial for social media platforms to continue to evolve to remain relevant, lest they wish to be replaced. Prior to the invention of the internet in 1990, television was the latest technology which brought people together technology which brought people together. But despite the fact that primary aim of the World Wide Web was to enable people to share information with each other, it wasn’t until 1997 that the first social media website – Andrew Weinreich’s Six Degrees – was introduced. Now, even that has been replaced by other similar ones, with the defining factor in its demise and others’ success being the ability to evolve and expand its offering.
When we all first started using the likes of Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, and Instagram, the features in place were plenty to satisfy our communication needs. Then, as these apps and websites started to evolve, we found new features – ones that, previously, we didn’t even know we wanted – drawing us to certain social media platforms and causing us forgetting about others.
While it seems almost unfathomable that other social media providers could usurp big names like Facebook and Twitter in the coming years, both continue to evolve to ensure they’re not caught out.
The evolution of social media continues
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The Facebook-Cambridge Analytica data scandal in 2018 did a huge amount of damage to Facebook’s reputation. It seems to have been integrated into everyday life to such an extent that many couldn’t risk leaving. However, some did manage to leave, which Facebook didn’t like. To avoid future scandal and the potential loss of even more users, Facebook has been rolling out some very publically advertised features which aim to make up for their shortcomings, the most recent of which was their ‘Ad Disclosure’ feature.
Despite becoming a gargantuan platform granting everyone a voice and allowing the everyday person to connect with people who were previously unreachable – such as celebrities and sports stars – Twitter has been somewhat stale for some years now. To correct this, develop the platform, and evolve into a better service, Twitter have been toying with a new prototype app, called ‘Twttr’. Many new features are being tested that would make everything more streamlined and enjoyable.
Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook have very little competition in their respective social media offerings. And yet, when we look at the tech scene, they also top the charts in terms of who’s making big changes. Clearly, they all see continued development as a necessity if they want to keep their users involved and stay relevant. Keep an eye out to see how they evolve in 2019.