What Can We Expect from Social Media in the Coming Years? 
Mon, April 19, 2021

What Can We Expect from Social Media in the Coming Years? 

Social media platforms have had quite an insanely active decade / Photo by: LookerStudio via Shutterstock

 

Social media platforms have had quite an insanely active decade. From Facebook getting into numerous probes on security breaches (and getting hated for it), to Twitter being the platform to be for those who now hate Facebook, and Instagram being the bona fide place for brands interested in getting onto the influencer marketing trend, social media has found a way to become more deeply connected to its initial fairweather audience. 

The urge to broadcast oneself is addicting, and almost every young person has thought of resorting to living an online persona for money, surveys reveal. But what really has social media done for us these past few years? 

Instagram as an Avenue for Work

Instagram has been one of the biggest social media sites as of late. According to Refinery 29 writer Alex Holder, Instagram users are now divided into two kinds of people: those who go on the platform to share moments with friends and family, and those, like Holder, whose usage of the platform is nearly indistinguishable from her line of work. 

And for everyone else, it seems like this merging of a previously primarily photo-sharing platform with the business side of things has made the platform a veritable “hustle hotbed,” in the words of Holder herself. 

“My Instagram feed is filled with power lists, award shows, book reviews, event announcements, press trips, work mantras and job moves. It’s become an anxiety-inducing version of LinkedIn,” she wrote. 

For all its confusion, some analysts think this nascent age of self-advertisement on Instagram is still helpful. Lucy Sheridan, a comparison coach, told Refinery 29 about a certain transparency and openness associated with self-advertisement on Instagram. 

“It provides people with proactivity. You don’t have to sit around and wait, you can tell people you’re available to work. You can provide them with reasons to hire you,” she argues, and in such a competitive industry, the truth is that you need all the leverage you can get. For people who primarily source their incomes from their own Instagram platforms, Sheridan’s positive point of view is something that rings incredibly true. Sheridan argues that positive self-promotion is not something to be ashamed of. 

“Positive self-promotion can feed our families, it can put you in rooms you might never have been invited into otherwise. You always need to check the energy. You know when someone is coming from the wrong place,” Sheridan says. 

Instagram has been one of the biggest social media sites as of late / Photo by: ArthurStock via Shutterstock

 

Different Directions

Instagram might be on its way to becoming the social media app that gets most predominantly online people more jobs, but other social media are also headed for new horizons and will most likely continue down that path, or at least where the trends lead them. According to a report by Business 2 Community, a website covering breaking news and top trends in social media, digital marketing, content marketing, social selling, social business and more, Facebook is planning to release Facebook News, a new feature they described on their Twitter account as “a dedicated news tab starting to roll out today in the US.” 

This may be a rocky road as Facebook is still trying to ward off the controversy that came with the Cambridge Analytica scandal that badly affected their already lukewarm relationship with social media users. To compensate, they are also planning to work on a Facebook Pay feature, which means Facebook will likely be dipping into the world of cryptocurrency. 

For Twitter, their commitment, after being called out continuously over the past tumultuous years in politics, has pledged that “it would stop running political ads, and is updating its global privacy policy to give users more information about what data advertisers might receive.” 

Instagram might be on its way to becoming the social media app that gets most predominantly online people more jobs, but other social media are also headed for new horizons and will most likely continue down that path, or at least where the trends lead them / Photo by: 1000Photography via Shutterstock

 

There is an important question to answer regarding this, though: is it really possible to curtail political content on social media when “official communications are balanced by millions of videos, photographs, and texts on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook”? Everyone from the average joe to world leaders probably have at least one social media account to keep up with the times; is it really possible to distinguish which is blatantly political and which isn’t? By whose standards do we stand by? Being that each social media platform technically has different people in control of it, how can we expect one platform to do as well or better than the other in terms of filtering political content? 

The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania is of the opinion that the public "cannot leave it to the platforms to self-govern. Nor, based on what we have seen in Congress so far, can we expect miracles from lawmakers, who seem to be perennially behind the curve when it comes to digital technologies and their societal consequences."

They stated, “On top of this, we will need technical and business model innovation coupled with creative regulation that encourages interoperability and competition in a context that naturally favors network effects based winner-take-all economics.”