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The Future Of Social Media
Recommendation vs. community
Let’s face it. Social Media has a lot of issues.
Popular social networks struggle with bots, spam accounts, fake accounts, low-quality content, toxic behavior, and much more. All the while, it’s getting harder and harder to find content from people you care about in the sea of algorithm-driven recommendations.
Instagram, Facebook, TikTok, and Twitter suffer from these problems, among many others.
Recommendation-based social media has overtaken community-based social media.
What’s the solution?
In theory, social media platforms that don’t depend on algorithms should improve many of the underlying concerns. Instead of algorithm-driven recommendations, you’d see chronological feeds of content you like from people you know and follow.
Networks like these do exist. Instagram was once one of those. Presently, platforms like Vero or Glass try to or succeed at offering what Instagram left behind, algorithm-free photo sharing. Vero also taps into the field of Facebook and Twitter by offering more than images, ad-free and algorithm-free.
LinkedIn has become much more than a work-related social network. It’s started to get plagued by the same issues now.
Social media avoidance
Banning social media altogether is a plausible but impractical solution to the problem for many. Consumers want to consume. Creators want to share their work and make money.
Concentrating on one social network might be a better way to go. Numerous people do that nowadays. They focus on just one large social media network and devote all their energy and efforts there. I do that with Twitter.
Email services have become an increasingly interesting choice for many creators and consumers alike.
Bypassing the algorithms and recommendations of Google, Meta, or Twitter, email newsletters serve as a direct, uninterrupted, and somewhat real connection between creator and consumer.
Email gives options. You subscribe if you like what you see and unsubscribe if you don’t.
Substack is evolving this model further with their efforts in people-driven recommendations, in-app community features, and more.
Email newsletters have impacted the creator economy to the point that social media networks include newsletter functionality in their offerings. LinkedIn does, for example.
The bottom line
Recommendation-based social media seems to be the future. TikTok is thriving on it, Instagram can’t copy it quickly enough, Facebook tries to stuff it all in, and Twitter adds and removes features (Fleets, anyone?).
Back in the day, social media showed us what we wanted to see. Content from family, friends, and people we follow.
Now, social media shows us what the algorithm thinks we want to see. Content from strangers that matches our digital profile close enough with others who enjoyed that content.
What’s left for us is to decide which of those large networks still succeed at showing us relevant (enough) content and which ones have completely gone sideways.
For me, this is Twitter on the positive and Instagram on the negative sides.
We also need to consider the direct route to creators and consumers like newsletters or, in part, podcasts.
What is your experience with social media nowadays?
Have a few seconds left? It would mean the world if you shared this post on your socials or with friends who’d be interested. It only takes you seconds, but it’s a huge deal for me. Thank you!