It's the massive, snorting elephant in the room. Only, this elephant refuses be ignored. It's smashing through walls, upending the furniture, and flattening anybody that gets in its path. A wild beast unleashed upon an audience that fears and reveres it both at once. And we're all addicted to it's raw, animal nature. Social media.
Going Beyond Facebook and Twitter Dominance
Just mention the term social media and people almost automatically think of two things Facebook and Twitter. The giants on the scene, they've almost become synonymous with social. But the old guys may not reign king for ever. Give a bunch of teens a cool new toy they love and what's the best way to get them to put it down? Open the doors and let their parents join in, right? And that's what's happening with a lot of the younger crowd on more traditional social sharing platforms. With more adult users on Facebook than ever, from middle-aged soccer moms to grandfathers, kids and teens are fleeing the site fast, and a new social media landscape is forming in their wake.
But Where Are They Going?
A quick look at the social media landscape reveals some interesting things about how the world's youth is voting with their social media minutes. Here are some of the sites that are on the radar right now, a snapshot that says something unique about the evolving landscape.
A highly-visual social media site, users on Pinterest pin things that grab their fancy, in the form of videos and images, to a virtual pinboard. Pinboards are based on all their different interests and then shared with others or made public; interaction includes repining and commenting from board to board. A social service that isn't going anywhere soon, Pinterest is valued at $3.8 billion.
Listnerd is a new social sharing site dubbed as a mix between Pinterest and Tripadvisor. Originally launched with the intention to develop an algorithm that would allow microbrew aficionados to rank the best beers in the world, it soon moved on to bigger goals. The platform now allows interest-based communities to rank their favorite products in a wide range of categories, has thousands of visitors per day, and is growing fast.
Communicating Identity Vs. Forming Identity
There's no doubt that social media has always been an interactive, engaging form of communication, but with interest-based sites, there's something more dynamic to observe. Social media began as a way to turn our identities into a currency of sorts. We get together to trade information about ourselves and invest time into one another beyond the usual bumping into each other at school or around town. We stayed in touch. But now, the social media conversation is evolving an emphasis on expressing ourselves through the things we like. Top 10 lists through Listnerd. Image-driven bucket lists on Pinterest. Short, personal videos on Instagram. For instance, consider this.
Want two completely different pictures of who an individual is as a person? Read their about page on Facebook, any other social media platform, or even (gasp) their corny dating profile. Now, take a look not at how they describe themselves but at the way they express themselves through the site. What they post. The photos they share. The videos. The statements they make. This intimate glimpse into a more detailed version of this person is the new social media. Self-definition and discovery, and sharing that to the world as it unfolds. Facebook and Twitter allow this type of expression as well; the new generation of social media just embraces it with a little more precision and intimacy.
The Future of Interest-Based Social Interaction
It's difficult to say exactly where this trend will go in the future, but chances are you can expect more fragmentation and less of the type of monopoly we've seen with Facebook. With an all-encompassing approach that tries to keep up with newcomers on their respective playgrounds but often fails, Facebook is starting to seem generic and bland. In the future, social media will continue to become more niche-based as users are drawn to interest-based sites that appeal to their unique personality and connect them with similar people. This has been happening on a huge scale for quite some time in two forms of online interaction you may not think of as social media online discussion forums and blogging. You will likely see more segregation between teens and adults, though adults, curious about the newest trends will like keep following their kids to new platforms, sending them scurrying on to the next thing.
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For more about social media or if you want to make an online top list, please visit Listnerd.com, a new social media platform.
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