Thanks to the team at Leverage New Media for this sharp-looking social media comparison infographic:
We know we find these charts handy, even if the numbers tend to change pretty quickly and, um, new columns start to become necessary (see you soon, Snapchat!).
The full lifecycles of major social media platforms have yet to be realized.
Sure, there have been plenty of virally successful platforms that were quickly adopted, used and then dropped (Hello Friendster). But all of these platforms are still rather nascent when you compare them to, like, the lifespans of other game-changing innovations (automobile, refrigerator, electricity, the list goes on and on).
Facebook started in 2004, quickly differentiating itself from rival MySpace by leveraging existing educational networks to grow its user base. MySpace was chaotic, disorganized, unguarded and allowed users to take on any identities they chose. Facebook was the opposite. Organized. Clean. Rigidly un-customizable. And, of course, you had to be yourself.
I remember when Facebook was open to high schoolers, having previously been college-only. What a day! I didn’t have an invite though. But importantly, I didn’t yet want one.
Fast-forward a decade, and Facebook has undergone dozens of iterations, fundamentally changed the meaning of certain words (wall, poke, unfriend, post, newsfeed), and altered the course of digital interaction. All while trying to make a profit (lol).
Culturally, MySpace is no more. And we need to recognize what a big deal that is. That a social behemoth with millions of users could lose that relevance is a testament to our constant collective evolution. In short, we grew up, we got bored, and the new generation of users very naturally wanted to differentiate themselves from the old.
This is human nature and—ironically—it’s the one thing that isn’t going to change.
We will evolve from Facebook, and the kids younger than me won’t even go there. In fact, they aren’t going there.
Recently, I had the opportunity to interview eight teenage boys and grill them on their social media habits (long story). The result: Many of them didn’t even have a Facebook. Facebook is old-school. It no longer holds the cache of “you’re not on Facebook?!? Are you a real person?” Instagram is their Facebook. More on that in a later post.
A lot of people cling to The Book for one reason: what if they needed to contact someone in the future who they didn’t know very well? How would they do it?
This is Facebook’s core value proposition. It is your digital, extended network. You probably don’t want to contact everyone within it, but you don’t not want to contact them either. The future of needing those bridges is enough to make us maintain our accounts. For many of us, Facebook is the grid. Going off of it is scary.
But teenagers today are becoming less reliant on Facebook as their anchors to one another. And, even when I look inward at my own Facebook usage—it has completely shifted in the span of ten years, and not in a good way. I don’t use it actively anymore. I haven’t used it as a tool to communicate with someone I am close to in a long time (that’s what Snapchat is for!) I don’t write posts, I just sort of creep on it, scrolling through my endless newsfeed. My friends are the same. Facebook is feeling tired. And, it’s no surprise. How can one network suit the incredibly varied use-cases and peculiarities of everyone.
Facebook, for a lot of us right now, is a digital Rolodex. Its utility lies in potentiality, not in continued usage. Maybe that’s enough to keep it around forever—in some reduced shape or form.
But this isn’t about us, it’s about future generations. Digital is no longer transformative for them. It’s just life. They may no longer see the need for a “digital network” because they cannot conceive of a network that isn’t translated into digital. Don’t believe me? Ask any person under 25 if they can imagine what life was like without the internet.
Future teenagers won’t need “Facebook,” because having simply been born later, they’ll have already outgrown it.
Beeper. Flip phone. Sliding keyboard (R.I.P. my sweet Sidekick). iPhone. Skinnier iPhone. Bigger iPhone?! Blackberry. Tablet. Fablet. iPad. Surface? Watch?
From throwbacks to current industry leaders, mobile devices have transformed modern day communication.
While undisputed as our go-to, on-the-go tools, mobile might be hitting a wall when it comes to doing real work.
What do I mean by real work? Editing more than a tweet. I’m talking about large text bodies where the implications of a single typo are quite serious.
There’s certainly a psychology to working on your phone, where the realities of circumstance dictate the type of work that can be accomplished. For deep thought, mobile is never the preferred choice, and it almost always conveys a certain level of inattention. So is it a vicious circle? We do bad/less important work on mobile because it’s mobile and a little bit…harder? Maybe.
It’s also interesting that many people prefer working with a mouse over a laptop track pad. On the far end of that spectrum, many visual or user experience designers employ styluses to gain greater precision over their work. Some people hate styluses, others love them—it’s a personal preference. And, preference is important to acknowledge here—doing work is not the same for everyone, so there might not be one solution for everyone.
However, there are a few, ingredients at play—human hands, styluses, computer mice, keypads, touch screens and other buttons. Now consider size. Mobile in its current form is always going to be smaller compared to the old laptop-connected-to-large-monitor setup.
These devices blur the line, but don’t solve the problem by addressing why bigger (combined with more physical dexterity) seems to be better. Devices are inherently limited by their own forms—so how can we move beyond form to extend a device’s reach. Projection? 3D printing? Make everything out of screens?
Enter the Apple Watch, “the most personal product apple has ever made.” You’ve already read about it. But, the Apple Watch presents us with an even more fragmented communication landscape where emojis and texts (initiated by voice command) are deployed more interchangeably than ever before. This will be yet another example of a smaller device reducing communication elements to their more basic forms (while further accelerating frequency of sharing). But we run into the same problem: reading, editing and exchanging dense content across devices. The Apple Watch certainly doesn’t address this!
Solving this problem is a massive opportunity. How can you tell there’s a lot at stake? Mobile devices are getting larger and smaller at the same time, revealing a clear disagreement on what’s working. Brands copy other brands when one really, obviously nails it. That isn’t happening any more—the market is getting over saturated by duplicate products with overlapping feature sets.
Mobile might have reached its limit right now, but its future is up for grabs.
Rallyverse now allows marketers to target a specific geographic area, level of experience or job type with LinkedIn Company Page and Showcase Page posts created in Rallyverse. With targeted LinkedIn posts, you have even more opportunities to make sure you deliver relevant content to every part of your audience.
To target a post, select the targeting icon in the Editor and just start typing. While we don’t offer every single option that LinkedIn can handle, we’ve managed to capture some of the most popular scenarios that we’ve seen utilized by our users (and we can always add more) in three categories of audience targets: role, seniority and geography:
Media & Communications
Vice President (VP)
Chief X Officer (CxO)
If you haven’t worked with LinkedIn targeting before, it’s worth checking out this video and details from the team at LinkedIn.
Let’s examine the touch points an average employee engages with on a daily basis.
You’ve got email (Outlook or Gmail, the classic conundrum and frequent office polarizer), you’ve got chat (Adium? Gchat?…er excuse me, “Hangouts“), and you’ve got at least five other social platforms you could choose for a more niche type of interaction outside of work (Instagram, Vine, Tumblr, Facebook etc). I’m not even including mobile SMS platforms here because that’d be crazy! I’m also excluding the proprietary platforms that many highly-regulated industries use to keep their secrets in check…
For your politically-correct office banter, you might employ Trello, Basecamp, Yammer or Honey. Wait, hold up…now we’re getting into workflow management solutions? That’s cheating. Or is it? What about Evernote or JIRA…or Dropbox or Box? So many enterprise software products now embed chat as a little bonus, do those count? What if you only use them for one type of task, but still include some kind of message? WHAT THEN!?!!
I’m. Getting. Overwhelmed.
Talking to people has never been so complicated. One department uses one thing, your friend in HR only hangs on Gchat, your Mom is still emailing and sending “, Mom” texts. Your brother exclusively Snapchats.
Should I chat the CEO? Better just send her an email…(proofread it like crazy, amirite?). When you factor in office hierarchies, the landscape becomes even more cluttered…and risky. Channels begin to have connotations. Should you send a message “from your iPhone?” or do you really need to sit down and work from your desktop? Should you chat your manager or walk up to his desk? Do you need to send an additional email in case, your co-worker missed that share link?
Adding on to this, new players like Slack have disrupted the game, claiming to reduce unnecessary office meetings. Now I can’t even have face-to-face interaction?!?! Whats left? Continuous feeds, it seems. With different punctuations and frequencies. I didn’t need to leave my desk anyway, I guess.
Not to mention, if you’re using the freeware of some of these products, get ready for the monetization of space and interactions there. How soon before brands are chatting us directly and uninvited? How soon before a card on your Trello board says “Buy Pizza Hut because we know you love it!” (You can move that to the “Done” column).
The landscape is fragmented and, while there have been winners, nothing is set in stone. But are we better? Faster? More connected? Smarter? Iterating more or just diluting everything?
All I know is I’m tired, and I bet you are too. Let’s chat about it.
Then again…maybe not.