The Rise of The Social Media Niche?

The Rise of The Social Media Niche?


Lately I’ve been seeing some new movement in my peers. There has been a growing discontent with Facebook as a lot of us have been using the service for about 6 years now. Many who are not just clinging to the weird exhibitionism and stalkerdom the site provides and who do not use the site for living seem to be increasingly losing interest due to a perceived irrelevance of the relationships and connections encouraged through a whole mess of changing features, there.

Because oh, right, people haven’t changed enough yet to remember why we stopped talking to them right after high school. And it only took another 6 years of seeing their political updates and dramatic breakups and thwarting unwelcome FB chat requests to determine that. Talented, we are.

It’s still love-hate, rebounding like a bad relationship that you just can’t completely get out of. I have a few friends who DELETE THEIR FACEBOOK in a fit of joy and then after several months of missing event invitations and not being able to answer “oh, did you see such and such on Facebook?!” in the affirmative, they will waffle and open it back up, delete 3/4 of their old friends, add a few new ones, then get fussy again.

Granted, I do think the issue is kinda two-fold.

  1. I still don’t think a lot of people really grasp how to handle and sort a wide range of generally communicative acquaintances and coworkers mixed in with close friends and relatives, both in how we behave and receive behaviors.
  2. Many of us are also starting to come into a sort of digital adulthood alongside our physical growth.

The one I’m going to address here is the latter. Young people seem to be starting to shed the mentality that came with “dating” social media early on and all the obsession, tragedy and connectivity it provided to settle into more stable patterns on the other side. We know who we are more now, we know who we want to be really connected to and we are now learning pick the right media to express ourselves.

Enter niche sites. Simple, focused apps and communities that allow us to do something very specific to our personalities that we want to do. Share pictures with a funky vintage filter? Check in to cool places in your city, or as you travel? Share music? Share your thoughts in a multimedia format quickly and efficiently?

There are people all over who just don’t “get” Twitter, but who took very quickly to Instagram. Or Tumblr. And there are those who use Reddit regularly but find Facebook utterly exasperating. Some people prefer to “check in” through apps like Foursquare but not Gowalla and there are even folks out there who still use MYSPACE. It’s true. And then we have the whole discussion of social media usage across the world (Seriously, what the hell is Overblog or Tuenti?) but that’s for another time.

So what do you think about the future of social media? Have you witnessed some of this irritation and departure?

Are we going to continue to just focus on drilling away at a handful of sites that “everyone” is on? Or will we start seeing more movement to adapt and grow and find our leads and audiences where they actually are rather than drive them into a pen where they are alleged to be or we think they should be?

And for my next entry we will ask the question: can one simply WALK into niche communities?


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