ANYONE ELSE NOTICED THAT THEIR SOCIAL MEDIA PLATFORMS ARE BASICALLY MERGING INTO ONE?
It’s a strange time for social media. While there are many different popular platforms, all maintaining a solid user base, it kind of seems like they’re all merging into one… Case in point? Instagram stories. We all know what this was about - Snapchat doing super well and Instagram wanting in on the action. I’ve seen various discussions of this new video rivalry since stories launched; some say that Snapchatters are defecting to Instagram, while others say that Snapchat hasn’t lost out on fans since the feature was introduced.I haven’t used Instagram stories much - although I’m not the most active snapper in the world either - but when it came out I did sense the decision to be made. If I’m going to post a video, I’m certainly not going to post it on both platforms, what a pain in the ass! Where taking video is all fun and games, you really lose the lighthearted aspect when you’re trying to duplicate or recreate things to create enough content for both platforms - ‘that was really funny, can you do it again for Instagram?’ No. It definitely feels like an either/or situation. Unless you take enough videos to fill up feeds on both. Which I don’t.
It’s video overkill, right? Who has the time to be a good little millennial and maintain multi-platform activity all over the show? Enough, we’ve had enou- HANG ON. What’s this? Breaking news alert - Facebook are getting in on it too! Seriously. Facebook are now copying Instagram copying Snapchat and adding Facebook Stories.
Essentially, it seems, everyone got really into video and wants to be like Snapchat. Are we going to end up with a bunch of social media options that all have exactly the same features? Seems like it. Wonder when Snapchat will start adding in likes?
Funnily enough though, while Snapchat is popular with users, it’s not having quite the same luck with producers and advertisers. News outlets are reportedly scaling back their partnerships with the tech giants, including Snapchat and Facebook, as they’re not seeing a good enough return on their social media investments. While these deals and advertising strategies might help them to reach bigger and younger audiences, it doesn't seem to be making them much money, and might in fact risk the advertising revenue they get from attracting people to their own sites, since their content is viewed on third party platforms.
People who are promoting content on Snapchat, especially in their Discover section, are going to have to be a bit more careful with what they’re posting, too. Snapchat are tightening the guidelines, discouraging nudity ‘without editorial value’ and requiring more fact checking to battle the ‘fake news’ phenomenon. The Daily Mail in particular has garnered complaints from users for frequently featuring partially nude images as the cover to its Discover stories. This is particularly problematic given the age range of Snapchat users; the service is open to anyone over the age of thirteen, so there are minors being exposed to these images, as well as the adults who just aren't about it.
So how do you solve these problems? Snapchat plans to introduce a feature next month so that publishers can age-gate their content for users under eighteen, a good start; but I don’t see how it’ll help make their publishers happier. With social media platforms all morphing into one, and none seeming to satisfy advertisers, surely reducing the diversity of app features isn’t the best idea?
2017 might just be the year of Snapstabook.