The Second Social Media Age

We are not flipping the coin; we are rolling the dice.

Marketing in the Age of Digital
4 min readMar 20, 2021


The invention of the iPhone was a singularity in human history; the presence of social media is also an inflection point. We are not flipping the coin on either point-in-time because the outcome is either simply positive or negative. We are rolling the dice as human civilization is definitely advancing. The question is just how much we are stepping forward.

The Second Social Media Age

I got the idea from the book “The Second Machine Age.” It talks about how autonomous cars, AI, and other highly advanced technology will make a tremendous change to human life. The authors believe that we have already entered the second machine age in 2014. Well, I think that in 2021, we have officially entered the second social media age.

Ten years ago, when Facebook might be the one and only predominant social media, people had fewer choices, and limited functions were provided. Until now, anyone can easily name three social media platforms that are used frequently: Instagram, Snapchat, WhatsApp, TikTok, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest, etc.

This second social media age has brought much more convenience. We can get much more information and the latest news online, and we can study and get jobs through so many platforms. Just like people chase mental fulfillment after their physical needs are satisfied; They are looking for values beyond social media’s basic service. What about cyberbully? What about social media addiction? And most importantly, what about our privacy issue?

Adopt To The New Norms

Those problems may not be ours to solve. As marketers, we will need to plan a strategy while considering all the opportunities and concerns that are bothering our customers. What is the next level that we must step on before our competitors do? What are the tactics we do not apply even though our competitors are making a fortune by that?

The ubiquity of 5G is in the foreseeable future; we must be prepared. More and more companies are entering this so-called Streaming War. We marketers have to keep an eye on them and know their every step. We will also have to understand how the audience perceives the content from various channels differently to optimize the message.

Always Thinking The Next Generation

My mom values the feeling of holding a paper book in hand, but I carry a Kindle to read books anywhere I want. My mother is a typical Generation X, whereas I am such a Gen Z. She got to experience the satisfying feeling of holding a book, highlighting the lovely sentences, and gathering shelves of books. No matter how many times I recommended her a Kindle, she never gives in. But for me, ever since I started enjoying books, I got a Kindle so that I can carry hundreds of books with me anywhere I go.

It is known as loss aversion that people tend to avoid loss rather than earning equivalent gains. I believe that people seeing the negative side of social media are those who have experienced good things in the old days without the internet. They may be the generation X, Y, and even some gen z. But, what about the next generation? People born in the 2010s (known as the generation alpha), or even those who were born later, start using social media at their young ages. Do they really treasure the physical contact with another human being? Are they comfortable with developing intimate relationships totally online? Will they attach such great importance to their privacy like we are doing right now? We will see in our future research.

We Are Always Rolling The Dice

Two hundred years ago, if you tell a postman that people will stop writing letters and can see each other’s faces even though they are at two ends of the earth, he will think you’re a nut. Twenty years ago, if you tell Bill Clinton that the future president will use something called social media to talk to people, he might give you a smile and thinking about calling the security. Two years ago, if you tell a person on the street that after 5G rolls out, he could watch live-stream even if he’s in the middle of nowhere, he would probably say: “ “Wow, that’s so cool!””

With every innovation, we have excitement and concerns. Social media has absolutely brought us convenience and pleasure, but we have also lost things as payoffs. But, this is not a zero-sum game with the social media or its developer. Our mutual goal is always to promote human civilization. Therefore, we are not flipping the coin when a new technology comes out because the outcome is neither good or bad. Instead, we are rolling the dice to see how many steps we can proceed forward.