Social Media Platforms

Social media has increased exponentially over the last two decades, where we see a rise in popularity from its viewers, all increasing in age range. Social media has a spot for everyone, creating thousands upon thousands of niche communities online where one can circulate their own opinion and share it amongst like-minded people. We as a society have been given access to an archive of information, one is constantly being updated and one that cannot be slowed down. Companies not only created social media platforms for entertainment purposes, but in order to keep that very source of desire continuous, algorithms were created. The algorithm now knows what keeps your interest, what you would rather see, and posts that one can personally and easily engage with.

Every trend that follows the consumer’s capitalistic mentality, we end up seeing a surplus variation of what is essentially the same thing. Every platform has its own competitor, creating a format almost identical to the next. We see apps like TikTok taking over, and now 30 second reels on Instagram were added to keep viewers’ attention to continue using their app. Every platform has its own competitor, creating a format almost identical to the next. We see apps like TikTok taking over, and now 30 second reels on Instagram are more of a thing. This phenomenon is taking a thing once unique to a certain platform/company to a common app feature. Surely the ever changing social media platforms that do exist, simply exist for a reason. We use apps like Snapchat to communicate through pictures. We use apps like Snapchat to communicate with timed pictures. We go to Twitter to access a variety of comments, as well as political and social news. We, the audience, attunes to this pattern as a way to access the kind of entertainment we are searching for.

It would be absolutely ridiculous to assume that the Weather app would have other basic assets like posting abilities, consumers want a one and done thing. Every app through the consumer’s mind serves its purpose. Instagram is for sharing photos, Tiktok is for sharing videos, YouTube is for sharing longer videos and so forth. We don’t need all apps to have all the same features, while it does attract viewers it also disinterests them at the same time. There is no originality to creating apps anymore. Everyone is always taking the trending idea from the most recent successful app in instilling it on their own. Creating a platform is an art in of itself, which should be noted. I don’t think it’s fair to have companies repeatedly create the same content service, as that disables individuality and creativity.

While this may not seem like a problem, consider this: we have so many apps that are created to do essentially all the same thing. But we only have a few types of creators you are interested in at a given time. It doesn’t make sense for that same contact creator to be on five apps all at once. No one wants to surf through apps trying to access the same content. It’s like streaming a movie that was on Netflix, looking for it on Hulu, and five other streaming platforms hoping that the 40 dollars a month on 8 different streaming services grants you access to view that movie. It’s not manageable. For a society that does like to create, it just seems like we’re going in circles. The evidence is clear, we have apps dying out faster because it becomes all too overwhelming. I don’t need Snapchat to be like TikTok and Instagram. It’s just an oversaturation of the same thing. The only people benefiting from it are big companies, stealing a platform idea that is meant to ignite a new passion amongst its content creators. It is being viciously stolen by big companies like Meta, for example. The big companies on these platforms are making all the profit. While I can see the financial aspect of how this could be beneficial, how can this be beneficial for Content creators and viewers? If I come out with an app idea, it can easily be stolen by a bigger app that has more access to marketing strategies and overall more notoriety. It’s an unfair game. A game that isn’t regulated, and needs to be at least recognized and noticed. At the moment, society is still conforming to this idea that it’s a free-for-all when constructing apps that bring a lot of attention, you can essentially make the same app and just call it a different name. Either we make the change, or we wait for the change to happen. At one point, this crime will be justified, and there will come a time where apps are shut down just because they are too similar to another app. For right now, all we can do is raise awareness and fight for the small businesses, continue using their apps if they promote originality and don’t use any of the features if they’re stolen. And while it is exhausting, trying to keep up with this ever-changing web of ideas, it’s important to slow down and realize that everything has its purpose, and although companies do get greedy and want their app to be everything, it won’t be if we speak up.

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8 thoughts on “Social Media Platforms

  1. The thought I have on this is that in order to stay relevant, I think you need to adapt to the new upcoming rising features. There is always going to be something new and not everyone has all the social media apps so integrating them into other apps, helps to hold an audience or increase attention on thier app by incorporating these features. I think in order to stay on top you have to keep advancing which is why the big companies now have stayed popular for years. I don’t think it’s about originality, its a shift in what people want to see, eventually we will search for new ways of entertainment or move on to something else.

  2. It’s true that social media intermediaries are becoming more unified through similar attracting functions that generate great marketing feedback, like the reel feature. It’s the idea of scrolling through short clips that are compiled into a feed for one to see based on their own interests, which was known as TikTok first, but now can be found on Instagram, Youtube, and Facebook. After all that, I don’t really view the dangers this poses. We know the dangers of social media in all its forms, then why is the concern about our entertainment while the unification of these intermediaries poses a greater concern to the politicization of certain ideologies? After all, they are not for sole entertainment but are platforms for free discussion.

  3. While it is imperative for us to support smaller business and third-party developers, it would probably be very difficult to help make their work successful if it is similar, if not identical to that of the bigger players in the game. The reason why social media apps like TikTok and Instagram are popular is not (just) because of their originality prior to the “bandwagoning” behavior that other platforms seem to take up on, but rather because they (the big platforms/companies) have the money and the employees to maintain these platforms.

    Regarding your point about content creators posting on five different apps: content creators need those different apps in order to find and cater to their audiences. At the end of the day, they’re just trying to make a living. I’m not a content creator myself, but I’ve read articles about the intensity of their labor and the amount of effort these creators (read: people who create original work) put into them, and I have respect for them. Being a content creator isn’t easy; one cannot rely on one single app or social media platform for revenue. Of course, revenue isn’t the only driving factor in their work–I know many creators out there do it because they truly enjoy what they’re doing and want to share that with the rest of the world.

    Generally speaking, rather than criticizing individual platforms for their unoriginality in adopting “new” features into their own platforms, I think we should take a step back and analyze *why* this method is so successful and legally permissible. In doing so, we can acquire a better understanding in the role the market plays in promoting (or, in this case, hiding) the work of smaller/third-party companies.

  4. I definitely see a pattern in the algorithm-based social media platforms, which can be useful for catering the content you are being shown made for you and only your interests, however there are also other apps doing the same thing now, for example Instagram’s new Reels feature which is basically Tiktok videos reposted on Instagram. I agree with the notion that all apps are sort of merging with each other and there are no longer unique, individual need for each app.

  5. I agree with how exhausting it can be ti see social media apps copying each other in order to try and get more people to stay on their platform. They follow what’s big in one app, and ‘change’ it to allow people already on their platform to stay on since they now have the big trend, and shouldn’t need to use any other app. It gets overwhelming when you use one app for a specific task, only for that app to have the same qualities as any other, it loses uniqueness and makes everything feel repetitive. Maybe some people would see it as a positive, if at the beginning, but after a while it becomes excessive to have multiple apps that all feel the same.

  6. Social media itself is a creepy thing, I agree with the idea that it recognizes your likes and interest and continue from there. Not only that, I also realized what you had mentioned about apps being super alike. Having the same features in different apps does make it feel overwhelming to the point that makes me realize that I no longer need social media at times. I also think that copyright laws will make a difference in that, since there would be more originality in apps and content creators. Especially for Hulu, Netflix, etc It becomes too much. It gets boring!

  7. I agree 100% with this article. Instagram, snapchat, tiktok, facebook etc. are all merging into 1 app. It is very exhausting as an ‘early gen z’ who witnessed the growth of facebook and snapchat etc, including them adding all the similar and trending features to its own. It’s been capitalism speaking and therefore there really isn’t much for us to do except waiting for all these similar apps implode altogether. This is almost analogous to SHEIN, the fashion brand that manufactures every trending garment the second it blows up. I do wonder when originality will become the ‘trend’ again.

  8. While I can understand where this article is coming from, I don’t think adding more copyright laws is the answer. It makes sense that companies want their apps to have it all, and while I can understand the desire to protect small businesses, a lot of the ideas you mention are far to general to be subject to copyright in my opinion. Perhaps Instagram reels is based off of TikTok, but for any business to be able to copyright a certain length or format of video sharing seems excessive. As a viewer and occasional content creator, I don’t find this to be detrimental to my use of apps in the ways you suggest

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