While huge sites like Myspace and Facebook used to meet all social media needs, it seems that social media are beginning to fragment. More and more, there are multiple popular forms of social media that have more specific uses.
In high school I only used Facebook. I would like a post, but often comment on it as well. I held conversations. I would create content to share with a specific friend. on their personal wall. My engagement online was much more similar to face-to-face interactions with individuals I saw in my normal life.
Snapchat and Instagram are more recent additions to my media diet. I use Snapchat to communicate and often personalize content for the person I’m snapping. I use Instagram to show people what I’m doing and what I like and to see what my friends are doing. Sometimes I’ll follow someone I don’t really know because I want to see their travel photos or I believe in their cause. I use Facebook primarily as a communication tool, just like texting or emailing someone.
In the past, one form of social media was all that I needed to have conversations with friends, share my pictures and browse things that others had posted. Now that I use multiple forms of social media daily, I’ve developed a personal sense of the appropriate uses of each. Snapchat is for funny, brief communication with friends, Facebook is for conversations and group planning and Instagram is for looking at content posted by friends or others.
I’m interested to see if social media will continue to fragment based on intended use. Maybe the next big thing will be something more comprehensive like Facebook. Maybe it will be Facebook. A year ago, Aaron Paquette didn’t see a clear leader, but had good thoughts about categories that innovators should take into consideration.
Snapchat seems to be making strides in that direction as it can be used to communicate (even without pictures with the chat feature), share content with the story feature and see editorial posts with Discover. If I have to guess, though, I think that it will continue to fragment. Social media has become a huge part of our lives; people are social media savvy. I think they’ll be willing to put in the effort of choosing and using multiple apps if one is the best for messaging, another is best for sending pictures, one is best for talking to strangers, another is the one that parents use, one is fun in college towns and another is appropriate to show to employers.