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Is the Social Media Bubble Going to Pop?

I couldn’t help but read an article in BusinessInsider.com that talked about a social media bubble.  My initial thought was “are they crazy to suggest such a thing?”  However, after taking a long view approach on the topic and thinking about the past 15 years, I’ve developed and opinion that is somewhere in the middle of the road.

Is there potential for social media to start dying off and becoming less popular?  Certainly.  But it won’t be every network and it won’t be without the death of social media. 

Time has shown us what happens when social media outlets are “one upped” by other platforms. I remember in the early 2000’s being a staple on MySpace.com, and then eventually growing out of it and thinking that the crowd was very young and pretentious.  It was almost as if you received a MySpace account when you bought a computer! 

Next, when I lived in Latin America, the entire country of Costa Rica seemed to be on a site called “Hi5.”  Again, like MySpace, that site lost a lot of its stickiness with it’s clientele when the monstrous Facebook launched and became such a monster.

Speaking of Facebook, I think this one is here to stay.  The demographics of the users are just monstrous.  When I login, I see younger cousins who are in high school and even middle school using the platform.  Then, I see that my aunts and uncles are on the same platform as well.  Talk about keeping people in touch!  The broad appeal of Facebook certainly gives it the best hopes to remain viable for the long term.

That brings us to Twitter and Instagram.  I group these two together because most people use them to bring us their “hot takes” and “instant reaction” to things.  Instagram is almost like a “show off” site where people post photos of their lavish dinners, vacations, and shopping sprees.  Twitter can be used for the same purpose, but it’s not as organized as showing photos in real time (it makes you execute an extra click) and not all users are into posting media.  Watch a pivotal sporting event and follow sports media and athletes, you’ll see how they react to each and every play – in real time – and share their pleasure or sorrows with the world.  (Or better yet, whoever decides his or her time is best spent following someone instead of actually, you know, living life.) 

I’ll make a bold prediction and say that someone will come up with a platform that beats Twitter.  Sure, I’m in the minority and I am very aware that Twitter handles are showing up on ESPN and our nightly news.  (Talk about free traffic – that’s what I call cost effective SEO if I’ve ever seen it without even doing SEO!)   However, I’m really concerned for the way people are making threats against others, using profanities and racial slurs, and in short – talking trash virtually without many cases of punishment or policing.  For this reason I think another platform with more filters for regulating content will surpass Twitter in the next five years. 

Who is bold enough to build such an engine?  Time will tell.

In my opinion, there is not a social media bubble.  Perhaps we will see consolidation and loss of users in many social media channels, but an outright bubble is not something I see our short attention spans and demand for real time news and opinions support.    

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