I’ve predicted both blogs and twitter would be replaced in the past and have been correct on both occasions. Blogging as we knew it in 2007 is not blogging as we know it today. Dave Winer’s post on blogging v. Medium is exactly the problem I predicted with blogging eight years ago and the turmoil at social media powerhouse twitter is exactly representative of the problems with that platform as well.
These publishing tools give new voices to new people, yet they’re growth is fueled by an increasing number of early adopters. When early adopters are on the platform, the medium is just being discovered. The social norms that go along with the platform are still being learned. For example, in 2007 bloggers were trying to decide what was acceptable when it came to citing sources, affiliate linking, and deleting/editing content. In 2013 Marc Andreessen single-handledly defined the format for tweet storms.
So why do these new publishing platforms and tools keep getting replaced? Simple – Monetization != Trust…
Marketers flood the platforms and tools followed by investors seeking to get a return which means manipulating the river of news to include only the most profitable items.
In social media, everyone is taking the Facebook approach to stream manipulation, reducing trust.
In both blogs and social media, marketers flood the platforms on a rumor there’s an active community of early adopters who they can reach, reducing trust.
So what’s a young tech savvy early adopter to do when the platforms they love have hidden the layer of trust that used to be there in an effort to monetize the platform? They search for a new platform! Sure a few stick around who love the medium. There’s still some great blogs and great twitter accounts in the world. The world will still read them, but the early adopters who once defined the platforms will be gone and a new community will cause the platform to evolve. Evidence: @StartupLJackson has called it quits on twitter, Gary Vaynerchuck, once a twitter magnate is spending more and more time on Snapchat.
Speaking of new platforms, Pinterest, Instagram, Snapchat…
Which of those platforms are currently being over-run by big media brands hungry for the early adopters who left them at the blogging and twitter altar? All three. Instagram is now grooming the feed just like Twitter and Facebook. Snapchat is the new twitter with all the cool kids and brands. Consultants are now selling Snapchat for your business strategies and soon all this activity will scare off the early adopters.
I’m not predicting death. I wasn’t predicting death in 2007 either – I am reflecting on a trend that I’ve been following for a decade around independent publication on the web. Publishers and readers alike seek trust in the platforms they’re using and this desire for trust is at odds with the standard manipulative practices that go along with marketing. What will be the next platform? I don’t have a great answer. Right now many early adopters are hiding in private SlackHQ groups where stream manipulation and marketers can’t find them. Others are flocking to video platforms like Periscope or audio platforms like TapeWrite or a podcasting platform.
Want to learn more about my research and writing into private markets? Join my mailing list for early access.