Social media is getting old

Almost two decades ago, when people in Mexico communicated through the buzzing of the original Messenger, social networks began to take shape. existed in the United States Myspace and here the trendy virtual place was Hi5. But, like all first-generation products, the initial social networks were quickly overtaken by the next iteration.

Facebook was the one who got the cake. Not with a slice, but with the whole cake. At its height in the last five years, it has been the social network with the greatest reach on the entire planet. In Africa, Asia and America it stood out. In Europe, its scope was smaller, partly due to privacy legislation that better protected users on the continent.

And now, for the first time in 18 years, Facebook – well, Meta – reported having fewer active people on its main platform. The drop, in terms of scale, was minimal: it went from 1.930 million daily users to 1.929. However, in the stock market the blow was brutal. Meta fell almost 24%, a loss never seen before.

In terms of valuation, the company it fell almost 200 billion dollars, and –in another milestone– it was located in value below the monetary limit that is used to calculate monopolies in the United States. In other words, it lost so much that if competition legislation had been enacted in the United States it would not have affected it. He stopped being a giant.

Why? For several things. The first is that the company drags several scandals from years ago and has not been able to get rid of them. We’ve talked here before about how you’ve been accused of condoning government abuse, how you’ve been accused of enabling violence, and how you’re nowhere near moderating content being shared online. That has permeated the public perception.

The second is that it has not produced any new products: what it has done is buy others. Instagram and WhatsApp, for example. Now that it is seeking to advance the concept of the “metaverse”, criticism is focused on the fact that the company does not understand its user because it has been almost two decades without designing something with it in mind. He has lost his pulse.

And the third is that his base is aging. It’s been years since the younger generations see the network as their parents’ network, and it shows. It is anecdotal, but whoever writes this sees fewer and fewer interactions when he enters.

Instagram, according to the same reports, seems to show signs of fatigue.

TikTok, the Chinese giant, has the bull by the horns right now. But his domain can also be ephemeral: in these Warholian times, one is already famous for the duration of his dance, no more. Fifteen minutes is an eternity.

Where will users go? Impossible to know. A hypothesis outlined here: we will see what we saw with cable television systems. After years of dominance, the audience was pulverized. Something like this could happen, and we may not see again the power of concentration that existed during the first two decades of this century.

Saying “like” will be as uncool as the word cool itself.


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