The New York Times reports that social media is trending in a new direction. While originally emerging as platforms to keep up with old and new friends through sharing photos and life updates, now these same sites are riddled with ads and sponsored posts. There has been a shift from connecting individuals to connecting individuals to brands. Twitter, for example, started pushing people and brands to pay a subscription fee ($8 for individuals; $1000 for businesses).
Ellis Hamburger, former Snapchat employee, corroborates the decline of social media, claiming it is the same as MySpace and AIM. He points to the dual loyalty of these platforms to both users and investors, each of whom have competing needs. Zizi Papacharissi, a communications professor at the University of Illinois-Chicago, adds: “Platforms as we knew them are over. They have outlived their utility.”
It will be interesting to track the newest options. People are joining various smaller social media platforms, such as Mastodon and Nextdoor. This is a logical phenomenon, according to professor of public policy at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, Ethan Zuckerman: “It’s not about choosing one network to rule them all…the future is that you’re a member of dozens of different communities, because as human beings, that’s how we are.”