Facebook and Twitter had a good run.
Born by Mark Zuckerberg in Harvard dormitories and catalyzed on Twitter’s whiteboards in the early days, the entire concept of early social media companies hinged on massive social connections.
Let me give you just one example.
I recently posted a family photo on Facebook. A professor of mine made a nice comment years ago, suggesting that I could call her Linda instead of her official title.
That’s beautiful, is not it? Social media made that possible. Facebook and Twitter paved the way. I’m not sure how else she would have found the photo as she probably doesn’t have my email. Over the past decade or more, we have all enjoyed a wonderful time of personal connection with friends, family, and acquaintances.
Unfortunately, years ago, the storm clouds appeared on the horizon, portending the impending apocalypse. Facebook allowed companies to collect our personal information and use it for political purposes. Twitter decided to let trolls invade unhindered, and the company also shut down accounts instead of figuring out how to throttle them.
What started as a mere thunderstorm lately is now a massive conflagration.
I recently wrote about how Twitter is twirling around like a rag doll right now, perhaps because of an intentional death wish. Facebook (through parent company Meta) is a mess. Mark Zuckerberg decided that VR would be the future of social media as we know it, but forgot to check with anyone about it.
What’s really going on?
For starters, we’re a little bored. These apps haven’t done anything dramatically new in years, and both Mark Zuckerberg and now Elon Musk know that. We post and post and post again, but it’s boring. We’ve seen pictures of someone with their arms outstretched in front of a mountain panorama about 5,000 times on Instagram; The mountain has not changed.
Holding a phone and taking a picture used to seem novel and even exciting. Not so much anymore. Zuckerberg realized that the only way to innovate with social media is to switch medium entirely.
When we read a celebrity’s innermost thoughts on Twitter, it seems like we’re in a luxury apartment with them, exchanging stories over a roaring fire.
I’m not sure we really care that much about it anymore. Digital transmissions are coming in and out of every corner of our lives, via email and text, through apps like SnapChat and new apps like BeReal. Perhaps the question we need to ask ourselves now is can we please not hear from celebrities so often? Can we turn off some of the digital endpoints?
The noise of social media has taken over our lives.
What this might ultimately mean – after all this time – is that the social media powerhouses have simply lost their stronghold (or maybe their stranglehold).
We connect in so many ways now that the idea of using two or three main apps throughout the day doesn’t make that much sense. Mission accomplished, in a way. We are connecting more than ever on digital platforms. We are overly connected.
Of course, we predicted the death of social media from the start. It’s closer to an actual extinction event this time around, at least for some of the early innovators. Meta is on a slow path towards destruction. Twitter is in self-destruct mode.
Following the advice of productivity expert Jordan Raynor, I’m deleting Instagram from my phone until I need to use it again. I rarely, if ever, post on Facebook. The writing is on the wall and it’s loud and clear.
The colossus is dead.
Social media needs to evolve.
I hope there is something better on the horizon. Facebook and Twitter are now the old giants. Get ready for the new giants. Are you ready?