A Marketing Agency's Perspective on Social Safety for Young People
Here are our suggestions for keeping your child safe on social media - and what it means for your c…
The social media landscape is always changing at a micro level, but at a macro level things have been fairly stable, with Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Snap forming the main basis of social media life. The biggest news of the past year, though, has been the expected demise of the House Formerly Known As Twitter.
Since Elon Musk took over the platform in October 2022, the death knells have been loud but the site has just about managed to keep functioning, though not without its issues.
For brands, advertising on Twitter was never the cheapest option but was a great way to provide real time customer service. However with Musk’s approach to content moderation and resurrecting some long-banned accounts, brand safety has never been more of a concern on the platform. Brands like ASOS have gone so far as to delete their account completely and many more brands are significantly scaling back their activity on the platform with Apple, Disney, and IBM all pulling their advertising.
I have signed up for every social platform going but, despite Elon, there is still nothing like Twitter (btw, no one is calling it X) for real time information and reactions that will have you laughing one minute and learning something the next.
In the aftermath of the Great Twitter Upheaval, several platforms were pushed forward as possible successors to Twitter/X’s crown as the contemporaneous platform of choice. Mastodon was one of the first but its new landscape of instances and servers means usability isn’t as intuitive for the average user, so it hasn’t taken off as some tech commenters predicted.
Similar in being decentralised, Bluesky has been on the horizon (sorry) for a while. With former Twitter boss Jack Dorsey involved, Bluesky is focused on an open system where users can have more control over their data. Its growth has been controlled by invite-only access since its launch in February 2023 which, while protecting them from being overwhelmed, has naturally meant that growth hasn’t been as strong as some thought it might be. As invite codes have been limited, people have been able to ensure the people they enjoy interacting with get priority which can mean a more curated timeline from the outset.
In the meantime, the behemoth of Meta had already been working on a Twitter alternative for a while and, with the increasing instability of Twitter/X, Threads was pushed out into the world slightly quicker than they planned towards the end of 2023 - something Instagram head Adam Mosseri was open about from the beginning. As such, certain features that users would expect - like DMs and trending topics - are still not available. After an initial flurry of activity, Threads seems a lot more settled, but users have complained in recent weeks about an increase in offensive content which Meta have scrambled to get a handle on. Similar to Twitter/X, there are ‘For You’ and ‘Following’ feeds which means the curation of your ‘Following’ feed can cut a lot of the unwanted noise, but that can mean a slightly empty timeline as people simply forget to log in.
As it stands, Twitter/X is essentially still the same for the majority of users and, although not as reliable as it once was, it still holds its place as being where people go first for real time reactions especially for big cultural events. One bright point has been the introduction of Community Notes which have allowed misinformation to be called out, but the platform’s changes to verification and news gathering mean it's harder than ever to get reliably sourced information on major world events.
It's always worth keeping an eye on the latest platform developments to see how and if they can fit with or enhance your strategy.
When a new platform or new development happens, don't feel you have to jump in immediately. Not every platform is right for every brand, so even if you create an account simply to secure your brand handle then that's ok!
There are some questions you can ask yourself as you approach new social media developments and platforms:
If you’ve got clarity on the above questions and your strategy as a whole, then you’ll have a better idea of what’s right for you when it comes to adapting your social strategy to new platforms or developments on long-standing ones.