The ecosystem of social media platforms is ever changing. I sometimes hear people speak about social media as if it is something that happened and then remained static as its impacts spread. The truth is rather more complex.
Social media isn’t just a new platform for the sharing of information, by being “social”. It is much more changeable, adaptable and hard to control than previous technologies. Even the companies that own the platforms have struggled with their reputations on their own platforms – just look at the social media storms that Mark Zuckerberg (Facebook), Elon Musk (Twitter/“X” – I’ll call it Twitter in this article) or ByteDance (TikTok) have had to endure.
So, with constant change, what’s new in 2023?
Twitter’s role as the source of breaking news and information is stumbling
Twitter is used by many emergency response organizations as a primary tool for distributing urgent information to communities. However, recently this reliance on Twitter for emergency information distribution has been called into question.
In July 2023, as out of control wildfires forced evacuations and road closures across the western Canadian province of British Columbia, the Ministry of Transport’s Twitter accounts exceeded the limit on the number of posts and they were stopped from posting further, potentially lifesaving, updates. While this issue was resolved reasonably quickly, it raised serious questions about Twitter’s reliability as a platform for sharing urgent information.
In the Netherlands, following a deadly storm, politicians questioned why Twitter was being used by the emergency services [Hyperlink: to distribute information, especially in light of the restrictions imposed by Twitter on the number of posts that a user could view in a day.
While I believe that reports of Twitter’s impending demise have been greatly exaggerated, emergency response organisations and companies with a need to communicate urgently should not rely on Twitter (or any one platform).
Companies should ensure they have multiple rapid communications channels, such as an easily updateable website, a mass email distribution system, the ability to launch an incident specific website and a contact list for journalists who can help convey information. Navigate Response provides all these services to its clients as standard.
“Edutainment” is becoming ever more popular – it’s not just for children
“Edutainment” is content which seeks to simultaneously entertain AND educate – think Sesame Street. As people continue to enjoy wasting time scrolling through social media, but don’t want to feel like it’s a complete waste, educational content that is also entertaining is becoming increasingly popular with all ages.
YouTube channels like Cleo Abrams attract millions of views, often with very high-quality content. The presenters are often respected and trusted by their audiences and so the presenter’s opinion can be influential.
Beware this kind of content. If it’s critical of you or your company it can be difficult to counter as the presenter is perceived to be presenting unbiased education, even if this is not the case.
More usefully, if you’re trying to reach a wide audience, take some time to consider how to make your content entertaining – shortening what you’re saying and adding an element of multimedia is a good place to start.
How could I have made this blog post more entertaining?
LinkedIn is on the rise
LinkedIn has largely avoided the controversies that have plagued most other major social media platforms. Its algorithms may be better at promoting quality content over click-bait, but more importantly users treat it differently. People use LinkedIn as a digital extension of their professional selves, and while such selves may be less entertaining, they are almost always more responsible and less reactionary.
The tradeoff is that only 16% of LinkedIn’s users check the platform daily compared with about 50% of Instagram users.
LinkedIn is now the social media platform for business to business (B2B) engagement. For years if B2B companies had just one social media account it was probably Twitter. Today, if there’s only going to be one, it should be LinkedIn.
What other trends are you seeing? What have I missed? Post at me (Dustin Eno) on LinkedIn. I’d love to hear from you.