Whatever Happened To Innovation On Social Networks?

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Whatever Happened To Innovation On Social Networks?

The Twitter fleet feature on top of a smartphone. Photographer: Gabby Jones /

© 2020 Bloomberg Finance LP

Unfortunately, I could no longer agree with this article in Business Insider: Innovation in social networks is dead.

The arrival of Fleets on Twitter once again shows the widespread lack of imagination on social networks, where everyone is copying each other, to the point that users are no longer even clear which they are on.

Snapchat co-founders Evan Spiegel, Bobby Murphy, and Reggie Brown reportedly made up to 31 attempts in their Stanford years before starting the company, starting with an early design called Picaboo that they came up with when they saw it A classmate regrets sending a photo. I’m not going to speculate on the content of the photo or why the sender regretted their actions, but it is arguably one of the few cases where you would be happy to see something lost. In order not to be outdone, and after his $ 3 billion takeover bid was turned down, Mark Zuckerberg decided to simply copy Snapchat and tried repeatedly until he finally succeeded with Instagram Stories.

Since then, social media managers seem to have run out of ideas. Instead, they seem to employ the maxim that “he who steals from a thief will be forgiven for 100 years,” and, if we can manage, create features that are no longer just similar but completely identical with no trace of Too bad: Microsoft incorporated it into LinkedIn, a particularly egregious example, and now Twitter is following this example in the same place on the screen with the same nondescript look and functionality. The recent collective stupidity now is creating one of those unimportant stories and then spending more time uploading them to each social network one at a time than the time wasted creating it so it can disappear 24 hours later. Great. If someone had told me a few years ago that we would spend our time doing such annoying nonsense, I would not have believed them.

The result is no longer just a pathetic reflection of a complete lack of ideas, but the uncomfortable feeling of not knowing what application or social network you are in. An obsession with a format, with content that disappears after a while. What is the benefit of posting something that disappears after a few hours? For some reason everyone is obsessed with this impermanence, this banality, the aesthetics of background music, notes on a photo, choreographed movements or video loops. I don’t know how long this short-lived genre will last; All I can say is that I wish it had never started: I didn’t see any value in it then and I still don’t know no matter how many clones are still generated. Some may be cuter, funnier, or more resourceful, but they still seem like a waste of time. I still don’t understand the value of having something you spent time creating disappears so quickly.

Certainly social networks have to contain more than just recording and passing on meaningless content that is deleted after a few hours. There has to be something else of value, something original, something else of interest. A bit more.

It’s time to reinvent social networks. Maybe I’m getting old, but it’s getting harder and harder to tell them apart. So I’ll see if I can make up a story, post it on Snapchat, Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter, and I’ll tell you about it. I hope you see it before it goes away