Daily BulletinDaily Bulletin

The Conversation

  • Written by The Conversation Contributor

It is 5 years since the potential of social media was considered limitless. Not only was social media revolutionary, but it was literally capable of bringing about revolutions such as the uprisings of the “Arab Spring”. There was no part of our social lives that platforms like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn could not change. Concepts like having a “social graph” became generally understood, as was the ability of those graphs to determine what we bought, how we felt, who our friends were and where we would work. It was believed that social media would be with us from birth to death, cataloguing the journey on the way.

Ignoring the negatives

The hype of social media enabled social media to largely wave off the negatives that have been there from the start. There was Facebook running secret experiments on its users to manipulate their mood. And the ever-present harassment of almost everyone at some time or another, but typically women. This became so much a part of the platform that protracted bouts of harassment even got their own hashtags like #Gamergate. Rape and murder threats have become accepted as being part of the price, according to at least one female reporter, that women need to pay for the “freedom of speech” afforded by social media.

And then there was terrorism. Social media it turns out, seems to be especially effective as a platform for terrorist propaganda with Twitter having to constantly delete tens of thousands of accounts related to ISIS alone.

Where have all the teenagers gone?

As is often the way, young adults have been the “sentinel users”, those to first realise that actually social media could be boring, had become colonised by their parents and generally had more negatives than positives. Teens have been leaving Facebook in their millions. This hasn’t affected Facebook yet because of the continued growth of users in different countries.

The other sentinel warning that social media may have run its course is the stock market. LinkedIn, up until last week, was the social media platform that not only could make money but was promising the type of growth that supported the high price of its shares. This came to a crash when it reported that the future was not going to be as strong as expected and that advertising in particular was not working as well as it hoped. The market reacted spectacularly with LinkedIn losing nearly 45% its value overnight leaving it at levels it last saw in 2012.

Twitter of course continues to struggle to convince anyone that it has a viable business plan to make money and this has been reflected in its continued downward plunge in value.

The disillusionment of the markets reflects a lack of interest by advertisers and other businesses in any platform other than Facebook (for now). What will be interesting to see however is whether that sentiment carries over into other consumer groups. Journalists may stop writing stories about whatever is trending on Twitter, or quoting the obligatory tweet that serves as a replacement for an authoratative quote.

The unwinable challenge for social media

Ultimately, it seems that there is no way that all of the current platforms can all be successful at the same time. For most users, there is simply not enough time to interact in any meaningful way with multiple platforms and find anything worthwhile amongst the noise. And that is assuming of course, that none of the noise was negative, hateful or hurtful, which automatically makes it much harder to see anything positive. No amount of tinkering of timelines by companies like Twitter are going to help because the expectations of its users is so diverse.

The other difficulty that social media platforms face is that their success is dependant on scale, and that in turn has depended on the inflating effect of hype of groups like the media and the markets. Once one of the groups gives up, it is far more likely that the entire network collapses, leaving at best, a vestigial platform like myspace.

Social media itself is not going to disappear and it is nowhere near being on life-support. Social media, like its audience, has moved from being youthful and full of promise to something more akin to middle age, railing at its lost youth.

Authors: The Conversation Contributor

Read more http://theconversation.com/social-media-has-lost-its-youthful-promise-and-is-looking-old-tired-and-grumpy-54363

Friday essay: on reckoning with the fact of one's death


Vital Signs: this university funding crisis was always coming – COVID-19 just accelerated it


For some companies, JobKeeper has become DividendKeeper. They are paying out, even though the future looks awful


The Conversation


Did BLM Really Change the US Police Work?

The Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement has proven that the power of the state rests in the hands of the people it governs. Following the death of 46-year-old black American George Floyd in a case of ...

a Guest Writer - avatar a Guest Writer

Scott Morrison: the right man at the right time

Australia is not at war with another nation or ideology in August 2020 but the nation is in conflict. There are serious threats from China and there are many challenges flowing from the pandemic tha...

Greg Rogers - avatar Greg Rogers

Prime Minister National Cabinet Statement

The National Cabinet met today to discuss Australia’s COVID-19 response, the Victoria outbreak, easing restrictions, helping Australians prepare to go back to work in a COVID-safe environment an...

Scott Morrison - avatar Scott Morrison

Business News

Link Building Secrets - Comprehensive Guide

Link building has proven to be an effective approach when it comes to promoting your online website. Let's analyze the topic of developing an effective link building strategy for site promotion ...

Julia Smith - avatar Julia Smith

What to Expect from Your NDIS Verification & Certification Audit

The National Disability Insurance Agency administers NDIS (National Disability Insurance Scheme) in Australia. The NDIS Quality and Safeguards Commission governs it. As a welfare support scheme of...

Sarah Williams - avatar Sarah Williams

Why You May Need A Tower Scaffold Hire

When constructing a building, or even a multilevel structure, you must use a tower scaffold to get you into position. What is unique about this type of scaffolding is that you can build it highe...

News Company - avatar News Company

News Company Media Core

Content & Technology Connecting Global Audiences

More Information - Less Opinion