At the time of writing it’s a bit cold, pretty grey, and there are thousands of people who have chosen to queue up outside various Apple stores around the world. But, instead of venting my cynicism towards the excellent job Apple’s marketing machine has done in convincing all these people to spend large sums of money on a device neither as exciting nor as innovative as they have been led to believe, I am going to try and write about the homogenisation of social media.
Each of the three biggest social networks – Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn – started with distinct propositions. I suppose in some ways they are still distinct; Facebook is more about personal connections; Twitter focuses on real-time information harvesting, and LinkedIn is a platform for business discussion.
But in recent months I’ve noticed a blurring of these distinctions. Each of the major platforms is, understandably, seeking to replicate the USPs its rivals boast. LinkedIn and Twitter have both copied the ‘cover image’ first seen on Facebook. Facebook has attempted to replicate LinkedIn’s professional-focus with some new features and plug-ins, and LinkedIn and Facebook have both tried rejigging the way they deliver updates to ape Twitter’s sense of immediacy.
And what you end up with is slightly messy. Facebook and LinkedIn, particularly, feel very clunky these days. And, although Twitter is probably more closely aligned with what its founders envisaged when they started out, it is arguably the noisiest of the three in terms of social clutter.
Social media is at its best when it is free and dynamic. That’s why I am excitedly looking forward to a time when more people have grown tired of the stale options we currently use. Keep your eyes peeled; there are some innovative solutions on the horizon, and I am not talking about the iPhone6, which should be due for release in 364 days.