The Shelf Life of Social

As I gaze out of the window I see swarms of intrepid adventurers capturing Drowzee, Evee and Pidgey. These risk-taking pioneers are the human races’ only hope of a secure future. Hold up, not quite. ‘Not another Pokémon Go blog’ I hear you cry. I will try not to dwell on this craze but the truth is it’s hard to ignore the astonishing success of this old skool game.

Talking of old school who remembers the fax machine? Yeah, me neither. If you do remember this lost form of communication, like many of my colleagues you may reminisce about the ‘simpler’ times or even simper the ever reliable pigeon post. There is of course nothing simple about collecting 250 creatures, evolving and battling them. In fact, one dedicated man has given up his career to pursue the hunt and conquer the challenge. On the contrary, see Channel 4’s ‘Eden’ where a group of strangers are marooned on a remote Scottish isle. The problem is, our modern world does not allow us all to escape from reality in this drastic manner. A more obtainable approach to a smoother lifestyle is to achieve complete convenience. The internet has of course made everything so easy, I wake up lusting after Pokémon socks and they arrive by dinner time. Social media has allowed us to communicate, to shop, to travel and to escape in many forms. This is perhaps why according to a 2015 study the average user spends 1.72 hours on social media a day. That makes up 28% of all online activity1.

The question I pose to you is: when will our favourite social platforms become stale?

There is currently a social platform for every generation. Teenagers use snapchat, millennials love Twitter and Instagram, mums adore Facebook. With this much information spread thinly across audiences the race to be best is short lived. Social has no time bomb because it develops as the audience needs more. The thing is, a push to be the next Facebook is as tragic as trying to be the next Beyoncé. Of course, there is nothing wrong with striving to be the ultimate platform but please, make it original. There are currently 1,252,777 apps available on the app store2 but how many of these are you aware of? Probably, less than 0.0001% so, how can any platform have its big break? This is dependent on funding and trends. Pokémon ‘caught’ it’s success due to many factors but I think it was mainly due to childhood reflection.

How far can social media actually go?

Social media as a whole will not fall into the grave but the platforms we currently use will. Just think of Twitter as the fax machine that no longer takes pride of place in your office. Or the dial phone which is now a retro piece in a Soho furniture boutique. These items are just not convenient and so their shelf life is over. This is how the world works because fortunately we, as humans, are able to develop our lives in order to be the laziest we possibly can.  I don’t want to be wasting my time running errands when I could be catching valuable and life changing Pokémon.Pikachu

I didn’t even play Pokémon the first time around! I was essentially pulled into this addiction by F.O.M.O (‘fear of missing out’ – yes, it’s a real phrase). Maybe, that is what drives social and any popular platform to explode with prosperity. The feeling that my colleagues, friends, the guy at the checkout could be having more fun than me. How dare they?! If social media didn’t exist, then we wouldn’t know what phenomena was spreading across the globe. Actually, we didn’t know social media was coming until it Facebook smacked us in the face.

Most of us will never know what is around the corner for social media or the internet as a whole. However, the likelihood is that if you need it something will appear on the horizon to satisfy all situations. That’s quite exciting isn’t it?