Social media is a huge industry that started on desktop computers. AOL was one of the very first social media sites to hit the internet. Since then hundreds of social media sites have been introduced. It has been a dynamic industry that has seen many changes over the years. Social media started out as a way to connect with your “friends” on the computer. As technology has evolved, so has social media. Cellular data allowed phones to connect to the internet which led to the ability for the traditionally desktop social media providers to create mobile versions of their sites. Then applications were developed that made using these sites on a phone or mobile device much more efficient. The social media sites that provide an app that gives a smooth mobile social media experience will thrive. The sites will receive less and less activity as the years go by. Why is this? Let’s face it the population is moving most of their personal life into their mobile devices. The younger generation is obsessed with their phones. It will become more and more rare for people to take the time to log into their accounts through a computer when they can just log in once on the app and just tap the app to view their feed, or upload pictures or whatever else they want to share. Out of the mobile social apps, certain ones will be more successful than others. The apps that allow users to view media as quick as possible will end up being the most successful. Apps like Snapchat, Instagram, and Vine are examples of great mobile social media platforms. Facebook and Twitter also have good mobile apps but Snapchat, Vine, and Instagram are much more simple and will be more successful. Simplicity and ease of use will determine how successful mobile social media is.
Snapchat offers a service that started out as a way to quickly send pictures to friends that could only be viewed for a set amount of time; usually a few seconds. It has now evolved into instant messaging, a news feed, and even facetime. Instagram provides a feed of captioned pictures and short videos that can be viewed very quickly. Vine does the same thing but with only videos that are even shorter.
The speed that the information can be absorbed is what differentiates these apps from other social experiences. Vine is owned by twitter and instagram is owned by facebook. We will see if Twitter or Facebook get too greedy and try to add too many ads to their apps and ruin them. If they start putting too many ads on the apps it will eventually ruin them. Snapchat has found a clever way to make money off of their free service while still not cluttering users feed with ads. They simply have a section that is out of the way that is full of content from companies such as CNN, ESPN, National Geographic, and many more. They have always had these content links out of view. In the recent update they have moved these content links into users feed which is a terrible mistake. Users immediately complained and I would be surprised if they do not fix this soon.
The ads in feeds cause users to have to take more time to sort through all the content in front of them. This is what caused the migration to mobile social apps. There were no ads to distract users from what they wanted to see. Hopefully social apps will keep ads out of users feeds. If not, social media apps will end up like their desktop predecessors will soon be; left to rot.