Opinions on the viability of social media are incredibly divergent. That is, one expert claims that social media is just like other communication tools, such as fax, direct mail and the telephone, all replaced by something shinier. Another expert would claim social media is yet to reach maturity as it continues to expand into new markets and have a larger role in peoples lives. Here is an analysis of the two main perspectives.
Social Media is Still Liked, Buzzed and Favourited
Some claim social media is still thriving and will continue to thrive. This may because of it’s unique selling point. Unlike previous communication tools, it it not just a means for people to communicate. Social media allows connections between individuals, groups and even businesses. It also allows individuals to create their own personalised online profiles and present their best selves – something which has not been possible with traditional media.
As claimed by Top Hat IMC, two main indicators that social media is alive and breathing is the use of smartphones and social medias integration into our lives. Smart phones helped social media become the giant it is today, and they aren’t going anywhere for the foreseeable future.
Hubspot also made a claim of 16 stats that prove social media isn’t dying. Much to their discredit, 13/16 claims started with “__% of marketers…” which only indicates marketers perceived health of social media. At the end of the day, a hub of marketers on social media are powerless if they have no active consumers!
Abandon the Sinking SNS Ship
The second main perspective is that social media is on it’s way out and fast. This is because of stats that prove that social media, in particular Facebook, is growing old to segments. According to a study by Piper Jaffray, over one year Facebook use among teenagers plummeted from 72% to 45%.
In one month Facebook lost 6 million US users. With a mounting pile of privacy issues and general disinterest, it is becoming more apparent that social media could be at risk. Recently I’d noticed several polls from Facebook asking about my interest in the site and it’s importance to me. Now asking for market research data isn’t a surefire sign of company troubles, however the questions asked made me wonder whether disinterest had become a common problem.
It Might Not be Black or White
Digital death is not as absolute as it is in reality. This does appear to be a grey area. A third alternative which I would suggest is that social media may be slopping down but only in it’s traditional sense. Think of how far mobile phones have progressed. They now are more powerful than old computers! I would predict social media will become more commerce oriented. And we are already seeing signs of this.
So what does this mean for businesses and marketers? Don’t put all your eggs in one basket. That said, don’t throw away the social media basket altogether.