According to a recent study by GlobalWebIndex, personal sharing on social media has undergone a significant decline, even while sharing for non-personal (commercial or tangentially commercial) reasons has increased.
Since 2014, the reasons people give for sharing on social media has seen a global 33% reduction for “staying in touch with friends” and “sharing my opinion” at the same time as “networking for work” and “promoting my work” have increased by 27% and 17% respectively.
These findings have come to light in the wake of recent news that Facebook has been struggling to encourage people to post original (and personal) content, rather than simply sharing links from other websites in their posts.
Is Social Media Becoming Marketing Media?
Earlier this month, Bloomberg Technology reported that Facebook was trying to encourage more personal sharing, after personal shares dropped 21% year on year on the dominant social network as of the middle of 2015.
Instead, personal sharing has shifted to services like Snapchat and Instagram (also owned by Facebook) and messaging apps, while impersonal informative and business-centred posting continues strong on more “traditional” social networks.
With the shift away from what was originally considered the whole point of social networks, the secondary (or subsidiary) point may have come into sharper focus, with people posting for “business” reasons, and businesses posting in order to achieve or maintain brand recognition, or consumer engagement.
The Future Of Social Media
Social media has become one of the core aspects of online interaction, and it happened in a very short time. It’s been 12 years since Facebook launched, and 10 years since Twitter came online. 6 years ago Instagram launched, followed by Snapchat and Google+, both 5 years ago.
In that short amount of time, these social networks have evolved to the point where they’re largely taken for granted. Their use has not only affected individuals and businesses, but even the political framework of entire countries.
Simply put, there is no way to know how things are going to turn out.
One thing is likely though. Our habit of using the internet to communicate, sell, convince, and foment change is not going to go anywhere. The only thing that is uncertain is what else we will manage to change with it, and what we’ll use to do it.