Facebook, Twitter and Instagram all started life as revolutionary networks that brought existing real-world relationships online. Today, they are aging utilities, powering an outdated version of the social internet. As social networks like Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram grow larger, they skew disproportionately toward supernodes—celebrity, meme and business accounts. On Instagram, 50% of total impressions are produced by .04% of accounts. Facebook is a bit more stable because it has a cap on the number of friends you can have. Still, original sharing like posting photos to your Facebook feed or updating your status is decreasing 21% year over year.
Hives colonize instinctively as they grow, which is why we’re seeing so many companies converge around the similar trends. But the sequence that they grow in matters. The next big companies will have to do more than just pick the right trends. They’ll have to nail the right timing by moving in sync with their composite parts.