Social Media Evolution Is Inevitable

New features. New apps.

January 29, 2015
Social media is in a constant state of evolution

Social media sites and apps are in an almost continuous state of flux. Features are added, specialized apps are released, and a new contender for our screens pops up on a (seemingly) daily basis. For higher education administrators, this constant evolution and churn can sometimes be more of a challenge than an opportunity. After all, there are only so many hours per day that can be spent learning and experimenting within this vast array of social media spaces. In the spirit of newness and/or things to keep track of, here are some of the social media stories that I've been following:

  • Snapchat: The most popular ephemeral app has found a way to insert popular media/brands into its platform. Called "Discover," select brands can now create custom stories for Snapchat users. This is going to generate a lot of money for Snapchat as brands compete for a slot on Discover. Additionally, whether this type of custom storytelling will be opened up to smaller publishers remains to be seen.
  • Facebook: One of the most refreshing news stories from Facebook this year has been the addition of AMBER Alerts on the site. Using Facebook's own data-rich platform to find missing people is a brilliant and altruistic initiative. Other Facebook-related stories to follow include: Calls to Action, Facebook at Work, and Featured Videos.
  • Kik: I'll admit that I don't very much about Kik. However, when I see a headline that says that Kik wants to compete with Snapchat, that gets my attention.
  • YouTube: Goodbye Flash, hello HTML5? Maybe. It just goes to show that Steve Jobs made a great decision when he kept Flash off of the iPhone. YouTube now defaults to HTML5 for video delivery.
  • Tumblr: Competition can be a good thing. Realizing that Medium has a more human-friendly editing interface, Tumblr is making changes to how content is created on its site. Plus, if you haven't checked out Tumblr's mobile app, I highly recommend giving it a try. The interface is fresh, fun, and functional.
  • Twitter: Sometimes I wish that Twitter would just stick with what made it work so well: simplicity. However, the creative folk at Twitter continue to iterate and add new layers of functionality to the site. With the release of group Direct Messages and in-app mobile video (capture and editing), Twitter is quickly becoming its own social media ecosystem.
  • Instagram: While analytics (via Instagram) are currently only available to advertisers, strategic communications pros can use Iconosquare to keep track of their Instagram stats.
  • WhatsApp: With more than 600 million active users, WhatsApp dominates the social SMS space. Plus, it's now available via your web browser.
  • Slack: Okay, so maybe it's not exactly another social media site, but Slack could be the communications platform that higher education has always wanted (and needed).
  • Geo-Social Anonymous Apps: It's tempting to only write about Yik Yak when mentioning geo-social anonymous apps. However, there are several apps that have started to gain some traction on campuses in the United States and abroad: Unseen, Secret, Whisper, and Fade.

What social media stories are you following? How are you keeping track of the endless social media churn?


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