There’s no doubt social media has had its pros and cons this year (and many years before it). There’s been no shortage of news and new updates from our oft-used platforms, whether it’s CEOs are testifying before Congress or rolling out new features to compete with the latest craze.
But social sites have been connecting us when we needed it most over the last several years. They’ve kept us together when friends and family have been required to stay apart, and it’s not just about kin. Social media has kept many businesses in front of their customers when their absence would be all too easy to have them forgotten. People have found their calling (and made a living) through some platforms. And speaking of making a living, social media definitely kept us shopping this year.
Here’s only a portion of what happened across social media this year.
Clubhouse Sent Invites
Voice-based content promised to make big waves in 2021, but it’s debatable whether that actually came to fruition. One of those betting on conversational content was Clubhouse, which was all the rage for a few months in the beginning of the year. It burst onto the scene as an exclusive, invitation-only platform, promising expert and celebrity-led chat rooms. It was so hot, in fact, that it didn’t take long for other platforms to start cranking out competitors. (See also: Should You Start A Podcast?)
Eventually, Clubhouse began to let everyone in, but my main question was, how do you get people to listen?
At this point, it’s unclear if anyone ever did—or still is.
Many inside and outside of the industry had their accounts hacked—with several altogether losing their accounts and being forced to open new ones.
Some users didn’t get hacked, but did see their accounts replicated, and continue to fight imposters trying to gain the trust of their followers to ultimately, well, probably hack them too. Of course, this all continues to be an issue, but it felt like it was happening to so many we know all at once early in the year.
Creator Content Got A Big Push
Every social platform you probably use regularly jumped on the creator bandwagon (and jumped off the one using the word influencer) to offer a public show of support as people started quitting their jobs everywhere.
The Great Resignation has led many to find their calling online, many in search of success via social media.
Facebook couldn’t keep itself out of the news for very long this year, and much of it wasn’t particularly positive.
Remember when Facebook thought Instagram for kids was a good idea?
And then it went and got all Meta.
Video Reigned Supreme
Video content was the living end this year. Everyone and their mother got on TikTok, which became a pretty big tool for businesses this year. So much so, that Instagram went ahead and freaked everyone out by announcing it was no longer a photo app, rather, it would be focusing more on video-based content (which caused me to ponder the question, Is Instagram Really Dying?).
Everyone Went Shopping
Finally, likely the most relevant and influential social media update of 2021—in-app shopping. It was a thing before 2021, but this year saw apps commit to tapping into shoppers simultaneously browsing social media. Twitter debuted a Live Shopping stream. Pinterest introduced the shoppable Pinterest TV. Instagram pushed Instagram Live Shopping.
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