The topmost downloaded and used social media platform is Facebook, with active users growing constantly at 20 million per month, and on June 27, 2017, Mark Zuckerberg announced its community had 2 billion users. There are different types of social media platforms. However, for social networking, there is Facebook, LinkedIn and Google+. For microblogging, there is Twitter and Tumblr. For photo sharing, there is Instagram, Snapchat and Pinterest. For video sharing, there is YouTube, Periscope and Vimeo. There are others such as WhatsApp, Line, Tinder, Kik, and an endless list. But the question is, what is the next big social media platform? This question in itself is very vague.
It could mean which one is next to the first or which one is fast becoming big or which platform recently launched and is projected to go big? However, having ascertained that Facebook is the biggest, I would discuss Instagram as the next big social media platform.
Instagram was co-founded by Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger and launched in October 2010 for iOS users but later became available for Android users in April 2012 and bought by Facebook within the same month. It currently has over 800 million active users and it was developed to capture and share moments easy, fast and in a fun way.
Why did I choose Instagram as the next big social media platform? Simply because live feeds and Instagram stories are quickly becoming the new social media trend. Instagram users started trends before, using hashtags. For instance, users tag their Sunday selfies with #SelfieSunday, their motivational posts on Mondays with #MotivationMonday, they post their photos showing themselves in the past and in the present on Tuesdays, tagging it #TransformationTuesday and several more. My favourite is #ThrowbackThursday or #tbt where you post and tag a photo from a previous experience or story on a Thursday.
As Snapchat gained dominance over the social media consumer market, Instagram developers took the decision to copy Snapchat’s key functionality, thus Instagram lives feeds and Stories were launched. The key functionality of Snapchat is sending images and videos to other users or uploading unto an individual Snapchat story, which disappears after 24 hours. This became a popular way for Generation Z, that is those born from 1995 to 2012, the true digital natives, to communicate. Snapchat users amounted to 100,000 within the first few months of its launch to 150 million by 2016, before Instagram launched its Stories feature and was successful in gaining back its market share from Snapchat.
Live streaming and video is the most popular social media tactic of today and will continue for the foreseeable future. Instagram also offers augmented reality with face filters and lenses which is another current trend for users of social media platforms. What is more encouraging to users as well, is the fact that their Instagram accounts can help them generate money. If you grow your followers to close to or over 100,000 brands pay you to post a promotional post on your account. Thus, Instagram is the next big social media platform after Facebook.
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