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
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
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.