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Social Media – Social Decay
12th July, 2017
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There are plenty of people desirous of the total demise of Social Media and a quick Google for ‘Facebook death’ returns actually way more results than I thought it would.  So what is the current situation with Social Media.  Well a number of things have happened or become apparent in 2017 so far:

  1. Monetisation
    This is the act of trying to make money without charging for it – usually through Advertising of a sort.  Increasingly our Social Media profiles, posts and status pages are littered with Adverts and this is driving a significant number of customers away from the likes of Facebook, Twitter and other Social Media titans.
  2. Automation
    Companies looking to promote goods and services are relying on automatic responses to Tweets and Events.  Publish a Blog Post – automatically fire it out to 50 different social media profiles.  Marketing Promoters are the worst offenders of throwing out content without any real interest being generated.
  3. Lack of Engagement
    2016 should have taught us that Social Media is an social activity for people to communicate to each other, but most Social Media platforms allow people to Shout a single message with little course for feedback.  In a normal room we wouldn’t spend our time ‘liking’ some advertiser shouting a constant stream of nonsense.
  4. Algorithms
    Increasingly our Timelines are not really timelines, they are artificially so called intelligently put together lists of posts that the Social Media platform has put in front of me.  It’s not natural for humans to read things out of sync, we like things in the order they were created.
  5. Reminders and Recommendations
    When you look at Facebook today you need to scroll down quite a lot before you can see your timeline, the top of the timeline being occupied with old photos, birthday reminders and all sorts of recommendations about what I need to be posting.  Social Media platforms are filling in for human non-participation.

The list probably goes on.  But what is truly important is that i probably don’t need to tell you that you’re checking Facebook far less often than you ever used to.  If you check it once a month you re one of the few and the situation is in a downward trajectory.

Twitter today is a blast of advert related content mixed with between 5 and 10 big name sources of news, the BBC, a few American news outlets and that is about it.  Facebook today is a shadow of it’s former self with a myiad of features you neither use nor want.

Social Media Growth Areas

So where is every these days, Instagram, Snap Chat and a couple of other more personal communicating tools.  The key with both Snap Chat and Instagram is the inability of Advertising to access peoples content.  The problem both these companies have is alienating their user base when they do try to insert adverts.  It’s a very delicate balance.

WhatsApp and WeChat are both hugely on the rise as well… the reason again is privacy and lack of advertising.  Officially WhatsApp is a paid App, but you get your first year free.  Again though how long can it last.

Facebook announced 2 billion accounts, but most new accounts are in newer territories, India, Philippines, Asia.  While activate accounts in the West are far less active.  The measure of these statistics can be taken literally by looking up Google Trends and seeing how often Facebook is Googled.  It’s heyday was as far back as 2012.  Google Plus is not even worth mentioning.

But this is not the end of these Social Media Goliaths – they will adapt, buy up smaller companies and then focus on making our lives easier be it through being able to sign in into other services or as publishers themselves.  These companies are full of clever people wondering what to do next.

NCompass and Social Media

Well for years we tried to either recommend how our customers use Social Media or to try and do it for them.  We met with little success – the return on investment is very low and the time and effort required is prohibitive.

The one area where Social Media does still have a big effect is within Search Engine Optimisation – An active social media account be it on Facebook or Twitter in particular reflects in more interest from Google and a higher ranking.  What this tells us is that Google is watching Facebook and Twitter like a hawk.  But the question we have to raise now – is for how long.  If Social Media as we know it today is on the decay as many people think – then Google is going to have to look for new ways to gauge peoples’s interest in a service or website.

And What about Mobile

Lastly, there was a fear that Facebook would have a huge advantage on Mobile over Google as people seemed to be spending 50% of their mobile time on the Facebook App – but this is not happening, people spend increasing amounts of time on SnapChat and WhatsApp, leaving Google still with vastly less real estate on Mobiles, but still able to inject their Adverts on Mobile Apps as they need to.  Facebook has failed to corner this market.

Conclusion

This is rather obvious as a forum for people to share and talk, Social Media encourages exactly that – however as more features are added and more advertisers allow through as more money needs to be made so more people leave and are switched off by it all.  Social Media won’t die as such, but there is a lot of evolving that needs to take place now to keep it relevant.