Evolution is distinct from change.
Evolving is the bettering or worsening of a sturdy phenomenon. Change is a more radical spin on the very same. But when it comes to social media habits, it is tricky to discern what is evolutionary and what is truly changing. Here are 6 social media habits that will sustain themselves throughout the years, perhaps evolving from their predecessors and spreading a net of something new to come.
Verification’s Identity Crisis
Ever had a tweet favorite or retweeted almost simultaneously after posting? Or are you guilty of scrolling and liking or disliking? While it may be the signs of an obsessive compulsive behavior, it becomes even more risky in the world of big data. When emergencies happen, or misquotes are leaked, or media puts forth information that is not verified, the habit can become a risky one. Things like events in Boston give rise to the speed vs accuracy paradox, as do weather related calamities like the Polar Vortex or Sandy. The key is to always ensure to verify before sharing, before misinformation leads to virality. But is this even possible in a me-first world?
Déjà vu: A Plethora of Photo Platforms
Ever noticed how Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Tumblr or Snapchat are all driven by a vicarious sharing of images (and off late, videos)? Sometimes even the same ones… with some apps making it easy to cross share. Besides a sense of overwhelm, there is also a notion of déjà vu. Social media is meant to be current, but is getting muddled with the user equivalent of recycling and content marketing. And some of these platforms are aping one another, like direct messaging on Instagram as a war to snapchat. Video was born to Vine, and is now popular with Instagram and Flipagram, alike. One of these photo platforms will surely tumble under the mounting pressure to distinguish and differentiate. Is another MySpace coming our way? Until then, anticipate more scrolling and observing, until there is simply less time spent on certain platforms before the final crash.
You Too: Crowdsourcing
Now that brands are all over Instagram and HBO is on Snapchat, consumers can expect to engage more with their brands on social than ever before. Tag them for coupons, like them for access, Instagram them for prizes or sneak previews, and eventually, engage with them like friends so as to passively provide them with growth strategies that come directly from the consumer’s mouth. Take the affair of social media with fashion week as a case in point. Truly, crowdsourcing at its best.
I or ROI? The Number Obsession
You can pay for followers, buy likes, and use Facebook and Twitter promotions or Instagram hashtags to increase your numbers, all a rather sturdy indicator of popularity. With Klout’s popularity quotient with the likes of Bieber having a perfect score, the obsession with social numbers continues to rise. Especially as people take the plunge into more and more platforms. Perhaps there will be a time when content is king, instead of being placed on a pedestal lower than a buzzworthy headline or a follower to following ratio.
The coining of Selfie Olympics on Twitter has shown that the selfie phenomenon will not langusih, especially since the iPhone 5S has an exemplary front facing camera, which, let’s get real, was not only for facetime or videochat. With cold selfies trending during the Polar Vortex, and people risking frostbite for the perfect selfie, the creativity will continue to rise… through reflections, acrobatic bathroom antics, and even a foray into the lives of those otherwise respected.
Events and conferences marvel at the connectivity and knowledge sharing prowess of hashtags and networking. But besides events, tv shows, and organizational hashtags, these have shown to be useful in drawing people together for absurd phenomenons too. Examples include a user created trend called #Walmartfights to share nationwide happenings on the anxious Black Friday. The most tragic of interpretations was developing nations’ kids reading out quotes tagged with the ironic phrase #firstworldproblems, probably the most tear jerking iconic display of hashtag displacement.
Here’s to hoping that trends of this year will be evolutionary for the better, or add to a wave of change.
Welcome to 2014, a year of more digital, more trends, and more social media!