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No, social media isn’t dead

I’ve just read this article on Business Insider Discourse written by Sydney Bradley and Amanda Perelli. And they’re right when talking about Instagram; it becomes the place for distillate, clean content. At least, my feed confirms this.

But who’s to say that the way social media, including Instagram, looked at its dawn is the way social media should look? We’ve decided that social media should be something where people share “their lives” unvarnished and with everyone. Who says anyone other than my close friends should be interested in seeing me fry potatoes or walk the dog? And if only my close friends are interested in it, why should I post it in public?

I don’t tell everything that happens in my life to casual acquaintances; I have a circle of friends for that. The same thing happened with social media. People have indeed become less public, but only because social media culture has caught up with what the real world looks like. In the real world, you have friends, you have buddies, you have acquaintances, and you have people you’ve seen a couple of times. And each of those people has a different level of access to your life. Why should social media be any different from that?

But there are Instagram stories, and people use them as a way to share their everyday lives. And usually to do so with everyone. That’s just the best way to show what’s happening in my life. I have a friend who’s posting around 10 stories a day to share her life, what she thinks, and what she’s doing. And a dozen of friends that post stories every day. That’s the same thing as BeReal: I want to say something about the moment and post this for 24 hours. Is there any reason to post this inside the feed?

And the Discord servers mentioned in the article. Yes, they’re popular. But that’s nothing to do with “Social media are dead.” There was always a niche for people who wanted to organize a focused community. But that’s not the dichotomy of social media/closed server. That’s two different things. And such communities always existed: Reddit, AOL chat rooms, ICQ servers, online games. Now we have Discord for that.

Moreover, the authors are somehow too focused on Instagram (for an article with the title Social media is dead and the subheading Group chats and messaging apps killed it) the focus on Instagram alone (and a couple of not-so-popular apps like BeReal) seems like an oversimplification.

The title picture shows sth like Pacman gobbling up TikTok. Apparently, it had already been eaten by the time of writing because TikTok is mentioned 3 times in the whole article. Once in the tags, once mentioned in another context, “Even ByteDance, which has the same parent company as TikTok, failed to recapture the fading magic with the photo-sharing platform Lemon8.” and the last time it is mentioned on an equal footing with Instagram.

In fact, TikTok is the new Instagram. And I’m surprised that this was just missed when writing the article. Yes, it’s more random; you’ll see a lot of strangers in your feed. You’ll come across scenes from TV shows, silly memes, and clippings from news shows. But at the end of the day, it’s where people are more candid. People mostly take pictures of themselves without filters, trends that make you look a little silly are popular on the app, and masks and filters aren’t used on TikTok the way they’re used on Instagram usually; their goal is to be funny, not to make people believe you look better.

And that’s what our new social media will look like now. And it’s better than they looked on Instagram. it’s impossible to show your life in pictures and make it look natural. But it’s possible in video, and TikTok has given everyone that opportunity. If I want to talk about my life, I don’t need Instagram, I will take my phone and record a video in TikTok.

Social Media is not only about pictures. People are sharing their life stories with a wide circle on Reddit, on Twitter, and on TikTok. Instagram isn’t the “app that better defines the changing nature of social media”. Instagram is just one of the line.

And even Instagram isn’t dead.

But Instagram will forever be glossy and like a magazine cover. Because that’s the way it was meant to be, get your childhood scrapbook; ask your parents for one. Does it really “reflect your life.” No, it’s just as fake; it has selected the best photos from your life. And the best ones aren’t always the prettiest; sometimes they’re funny.

Instagram was meant to be an online photo album. And that’s what it eventually became.

Vladislav Mashirenko
Vladislav Mashirenko
I'm currently a lead editor and owner of Splaitor. Also, I'm the chief editor at Tab-tv.com.



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