Tag

instagram

Browsing

Social media apps, like any other product or service, can drop with a bang or end with an aw dang.   Just ask Vine or Google+.  While the world of social media is ever-expanding and ever more connected, with the likes of Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat, Twitter at the forefront, we should take a quick look back at two apps that came in hot, then fizzled.

Vine dropped in 2013 and was later bought by Twitter. Upon release, it was pretty hilarious and the first of its kind. Edit 6 second videos in different pieces to make something funny. What an idea. Vine was a hit. But then Snapchat added a story, Instagram added a story, and the limited 6-second video became a negative. Still, love to those who rocked the Vine platform. The creativity and comedy by Viners was a pre-curser to the meme world of today.

Then there’s the story of Google+ and why it even existed. Why did it exist? Few could figure out its value. Was it for kids? Was it an alternative to LinkedIn?  It lasted for 8 years be virtue of Google’s deeeep pockets and still, few had a clue. RIP to that platform – no sweat off Google’s back, they run the world anyway. Finally, let’s take a moment to remember all of the other failed social media platforms that are no longer with us and let us thank them for their service.

Teen users of Instagram are increasingly switching to business accounts to get better metrics about their posts. These accounts show how many times posts have been viewed, at what times their posts are being viewed, who likes their posts and how many likes and views they’re getting.  Sounds great, but according to Facebook, which owns Instaram, business account holders are required to make their email and phone number available to the public.  When a teen is involved that’s a problem.

Alex Meron-McCann from the cyber security firm McAfee, warns of serious consequences for teens who share personal information by using business account.  Alex is especially concerned about sexual predators contacting kids through these accounts.

Data Scientist David Stier tells us that millions of teenagers have switched to business accounts; he also emphasized that if a 13-year-old develops a business account their contact information is available to over a billion people. A Facebook spokesperson explains that their set up process warns users that their contact information will be available to the public if they switch to a business account. Is this feature enough to keep a generation of young people safe?  Given fair warning, is Facebook responsible if someone blows through warning and misuses their platform?

One of the biggest problems with social media is users posting unrealistic descriptions of their lives. People tend to post representations of the positive side of their lives rather than showing the negatives. This problem often leads to socially toxic interactions; it also has very negative psychological effects. When we get an unrealistically positive view of the lives of other people, it can be hard to feel good about ourselves and the lives we have. TikTok has provided ways to combat this problem, helping them to compete with the Facebook owned service Instagram.

TikTok, a video app launched in 2017, has certain features to counter this problem. Certain Instagram users called “influencers” heavily edit the photos they post in order to create unrealistically positive descriptions of their lives. Many social media users are getting sick of this tendency. In contrast, TikTok, a Chinese owned social media service, has a page that a user can follow that filters out unrealistic images and shows posts that reflect ordinary lives as they actually are. TikTok has a page called the “For You Page” which shows images of un-glorified middle-class life.

One TikTok user, who is often referred to as “the Queen of TikTok” in comments, has a very popular profile where she shares posts about her ordinary life which often show up on the “For You Page.” In her posts she often shows herself in her MacDonald’s employee uniform while on break. Her profile is known for being authentic and funny. Despite the alternatives to the status quo, TikTok still has “influencer” profiles which show dishonest life descriptions.

TikTok is big competition to Facebook. TikTok is multilingual and has a huge user base in India. It remains to be seen how far TikTok can take its challenge against Facebook’s dominance in the social media industry.