Both messaging apps and video-based platforms have become wildly popular, but is it possible they are the future of social media?
The report that Snapchat’s user base has surpassed that of Twitter and the rumors that Facebook’s content will likely be all video in the next five years indicate the seemingly unstoppable tide of video. In fact, Facebook has been advocating this change, mostly for reasons of self-interest. Video will grow Facebook’s user base because it is easily accessed and more captivating than plain text or even still images. By the same token, video advertising fares better than the printed word, which is where Facebook stands to profit.
At the same time though, messaging apps are flourishing. Facebook has made Messenger a stand alone app, signaling that the company wants the platform to be more prominent. Apple is planning to update iMessage and give it more accessories. One such addition is “Invisible Ink,” a function that allows the sender to scramble the message’s content until the receiver opens it. Features such as this indicate a desire to make messaging a much more private social tool.
In short, social media is developing down two divergent paths. On the one hand, video is taking over the way people interact and broadcast their thoughts to large groups. On the other, messaging is becoming more privatized and personalized. The change represents the desire to have the best of both worlds: the ability to broadcast to large audiences coupled simultaneously with the capabilities to target a very specific set of people.