Facebook and Instagram are becoming obsolete, what will replace them?

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Facebook and Instagram have become symbols of the social media era. They are popular all over the world: at the beginning of 2022, Facebook had about 2.9 billion active users, and Instagram had just over one billion. However, popularity does not mean that these services suit everyone now, and that in the future the number of people who want to use them will continue to grow. In recent years, Facebook has experienced several scandals related to the operation of feed algorithms, the use of participant data and content moderation. As a result, more and more people are looking for alternatives, preferring the quality of communication to the number of publications and subscribers.


Why are Facebook and Instagram losing popularity?

Intriguingly, back in February 2022, Facebook detected a decline in the number of users for the first time in its history. It occurs mainly due to the fact that young people do not want to use this social network, preferring other services such as TikTok. The novelties that Meta promises to implement in the near future, such as the hyped “metaverse”, are also unlikely can change the situation. How did it happen that an application that was originally designed for students now does not appeal to them at all? There are several reasons for this, and they concern not only Facebook, but also Instagram, since both applications are owned by Meta, which determines the strategy for their development.

Opaque algorithms. Users want to understand why any given post appears in their feed. Many prefer chronological order, that is, sorting posts by publication time, rather than by discussion activity, popularity, topic, and other not always obvious characteristics. Facebook's attempts to convince users that the main feed should not be a chronological feed, but compiled by algorithms, repeatedly led to unpleasant incidents - as, for example, in the case, when, due to Facebook algorithms, a user did not see a message about the death of his friend.

Worldviews polarization. Facebook algorithms often show people posts written by users with similar views, which, as a result, receive only confirmation of their point of view, and not the opportunity to broaden their horizons. At the same time, in open communities, discussions often degenerate into meaningless disputes, the purpose of which is not the search for truth, but self-affirmation.

Advertising content. For many companies, especially small ones, Instagram and Facebook have become business tools, and tо date they remain effective. However, users develop “ad blindness”, that is, the habit of not noticing marketing posts in their feed. In addition, the very fact that it is not always easy to distinguish a business account from a page of a real person is annoying. How do you know if someone leaves you comments because he likes your photo, or just so that you go to his page and, perhaps, start to follow him? On the other hand, maybe this commentator is a bot in all?

Information noise. Over the years, the principles of how social networks function have been well studied, and now we have many guides about promotion methods. As a result, each user is bombarded with a huge number of posts written not to share something really valuable and interesting, but to attract attention. Clickbait headlines and images have also become the rule rather than the exception. Users who do not want to succumb to such manipulations find it difficult to get useful content, since for this they are forced to browse and discard a lot of infoglut.


What is the alternative?

Thus, Facebook and Instagram are increasingly losing the trust of ordinary users who want to find interesting acquaintances and communicate, and not waste time separating the wheat from the chaff and fighting algorithms. The alternative is relatively small communities, usually focused on a hobby or goal. Yes, the total number of users in them is small, but each of them is sure that they are corresponding with a real person, and not a bot, and communication becomes much more meaningful.

One of such alternative directions is apps for business networking. Finding new business contacts is the most important task for anyone who wants to develop his business. Among those whom the user finds through networking, there may be new clients, potential partners, or just people with a fresh look, a conversation with which will give a creative idea.

Intriguingly, such applications are with increasing frequency not limited to professional audiences and add features that are interesting to private users as well. For example, using Meetup, entrepreneurs can find those who work in the same field, or build a community around their company, and for everyone else there are great opportunities to meet by interests. PlaceTime has gone through a similar evolution, originally launched as an app for entrepreneurs, but has recently added functionality that appeals to a wider audience.

Networking apps can focus on only one aspect of the network, such as organizing and attending events, or try to combine different functions. Anyway, it's a great idea to install a couple of networking applications now – they will likely do you better than obsolete social media.

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