From the sharing of ideas and news to the availability of products and services, social media is intertwined in almost every part of our daily lives.
It is more than just a modern way of communication, it has changed how businesses interact with consumers, how governments interact with the public and how humans live with each other. With the swipe of a finger we are able to enter the lives and experiences of complete strangers and brands are able to reach consumers globally.
In today’s climate, society has become increasingly tribal and polarised.
But, is there a price to pay for having such open connections?
In today’s climate, society has become increasingly tribal and polarised, with harassment and trolling today’s blood sport. As we scroll through streams of selfies and cat videos it is hard to ignore the oversharing, fake news and often less-than-kind words.
There has been a noticeable shift from social use to less public communications as people wish to escape an increasingly vitriolic society.
In reaction to this there has been a noticeable shift from social use to less public communications as people wish to escape an increasingly vitriolic society. This is also being driven by a new wave of social players who are helping to bring about a return to the late 90s spirit of the internet, as people seek to interact with like-minded individuals through private and intimate interactions. It feels as though we have come full circle, with today’s closed networks echoing the message boards of the early internet.
The idea of private social communities is not new [but] platforms like Cocoon are tapping into a relatively recent zeitgeist, tied to issues over privacy and intimacy.
Cocoon is the newest of these challengers and is based around the concept of a shared ‘private space’ rather than an open social platform. The company message is built on the mission to “provide people with the foundation they need to actively bring their chosen family together”. Whilst the idea of private social communities is not new, with many similar offerings springing up over the last decade, platforms like Cocoon are tapping into a relatively recent zeitgeist, tied to issues over privacy and intimacy.
Whether it’s the rise of secret secondary Instagram accounts known as ‘Finstas’ or Instagram and Snapchat’s features to allow users to post privately for friends, it is clear that social media users, particularly younger generations, are looking to take back control of their personal and private content.
Gen-Z is more selective and proactive when it comes to curating its audience.
This is particularly the case amongst Gen-Z, who grew up online and are now influencing the rise and fall of many social media platforms. Unlike their millennial counterparts, Gen-Z is more selective and proactive when it comes to curating its audience. Seeking hyper-personalisation, they are attracted to smaller and more culturally relevant experiences offered by private social media sites like Messenger, rather than experiences at mass scale.
Only 37% of Gen-Z’s, compared to 47% of millennials, were willing to share life updates online.
The Friendship Report, released by Snapchat earlier this year, found that only 37% of Gen-Z’s, compared to 47% of millennials, were willing to share life updates online. But this is not to say that the death of public feeds has arrived. In fact, quite the opposite is happening given the success of platforms like TikTok. There is still a desire for consumable content and TikTok seems to be striking the right balance. Whilst a public platform, it has been able to build a confession booth-style environment where users are comfortable sharing personal and intimate stories, with social influencers rather than brands setting the agenda.
For brands and their agencies, finding that balance will be important as we go into a new year and a new decade. There are many opportunities through private channels, and content is at the heart of this. Increasing evidence shows that users on these platforms and apps are sharing large amounts of content and the conversations that take place here have become important for brand value and awareness.
There are many opportunities [for brands] through private channels, and content is at the heart of this.
Those that are able to use public social as a driver of brand awareness, and can pair that with the ability to cultivate authentic and human connections through culturally relevant content in intimate spaces, will come out on top. Large-scale creative campaigns on social will forge brand identity and messaging, while targeted and optimised digital content that can be shared easily will lead to a growth in organic brand-orientated discussions.
Large-scale creative campaigns on social will forge brand identity.
Privacy doesn’t have to be an enemy creativity. As users start to find a healthy balance of social media use, it is up to brands to ensure that they align themselves with these societal undertones and find their own balance and reconnect with consumers in new authentic and creative ways.