The State of Social Media

Social media has evolved since the Xanga and Myspace days… understatement of the year, right? As we see companies continue to work the system for increased reach, and the number of selfies reaches saturation point, it’s important to take a step back and consider where social media is headed.

Admittedly, that’s a difficult thing to project when talking about platforms and Facebook’s future and whether Instagram Stories will affect Snapchat at all. But when we’re talking about the act of being social, that won’t change.

The State of Social Media

Social media platforms will come and go, but each is reaching towards a common goal: connecting people in a new way, especially those who wouldn’t otherwise meet. (Take Mikhail and I, we met on Twitter. If we weren’t active on social media, our careers would be drastically different. And our lives a lot less interesting.)

But I digress.

Social Media is a Creative Outlet

Have you seen some of those incredible food blogger Instagram accounts? Make fun of food shots all you want, but the work and time it takes to get these shots is incredible.

And the fact that “YouTuber” is a job now?

People use social media to highlight their creativity.

Apps like Musically give us a taste of what the future could be like. They combine the ideas of existing platforms like YouTube and Instagram and Twitter and create a new way for people to share their creativity.

Social Media is a Community

Social media has always been a community, but it’s become easier through hashtags.

Well chosen hashtags give people the opportunity to connect over similar interests, ideas, and life experiences.

A couple I know has been working with foster care children for almost a year, and the community she’s built with the hashtags she uses (along with other foster parents) connects her with others walking through this difficult journey.

She also posts some of the best “this is real life” posts I’ve seen, and I love it.

A friend of 7twelve’s, Sabba Quidwai, has found the #edtech community through Twitter, as well as the marketing community as a way to learn more and build a stronger digital community.

As more social outlets come along, there will need to be a strong sense of community on the platform. Whether it continues to be hashtags or more use of location-based information like in some dating apps is left to be seen, and I’m definitely intrigued to see what will happen.

There will need to be a strong sense of community on future social media platforms.

Social Media Will Become Increasingly “Real”

It’s a fact that people only share the “highlight reel” of their lives to social media, which can make even the most overachieving and successful person doubt themselves and their trajectory.

Whether it’s Stacy London’s #FreshFaceFriday or a blogger with Ulcerative Colitis sharing what life is really like with a chronic illness, people are starting to let the messiness of life shine through.

And in a world of Photoshop and filters, it’s very much needed.

There will always be the temptation to share only the good, but as social media permeates our lives even more (yes, it’s possible), it’s important to remember that we’re watching someone’s good days, and not necessarily their bad ones. And I think we’ll be seeing more people sharing those bad days, but in an uplifting way.

Regardless of the platforms that will appear and disappear, social media will continue to highlight creativity, grow as a community, and I’m certainly hoping it continues on the trend to being real.

What do you think of the state of social media today?

— Hannah

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