Is it time to develop your own social media? Part 2
Have you ever imagined becoming the next Facebook or Twitter? Perhaps you’ve pictured yourself in the shoes of Mark Zuckerberg or Jack Dorsey? Is it time to create your own social media platform?
This is the 2nd part of our series into the reasons why you should create your own social media platform right now! We had quite a blast revisiting the history of social networks in our part 1: how they began and what the core premise was behind them.
In this article, we’re going to take what we’ve learned and compile a list why it could be the best time to start making your own platform!
Reasons why you want to develop your Social Media Network!
So, what have we learned previously? Most important thing to take away from our earlier entry is that all the current leaders in Social Media Platforms began with a singular target premise.
YouTube wanted to be a relationship app; LinkedIn wanted to connect businesspeople; LiveJournal was made for easier blogging; Facebook was – rate strangers between each other; etc.
Whereas in Google+ which tried to go big and wide all at the same time – came crushing down.
Thus, to compete with these massive companies, we must start at the same road. Find an unoccupied niche, a target audience, or perhaps a certain task you want to accomplish, and go ahead develop your app!
It really is as simple as that, well not exactly, once you have your great idea, build a networking feature into it. You want to start building communities, groups of people with the same interest and passion which your app serves.
A quick example – Parents.co
The perfect example of what we’re talking about would be the relatively recent and new addition: Parents
“Parents” is an ingenious attempt to bring together all the parenting tips/guides/books/advice etc, together, but as a community.
As you might have guessed, the initial thought was to create an app that would help beginning parents with easy to reach advice in their time of need.
Eventually, integrating the networking aspect and the main mission of the app became:
Connect parents old and new, veterans and beginners together to become the best versions of the parent they can be. Share advice, tips & tricks and valuable insights at a moments notice, just one easy chat away in the various group chats and forums.
With time most of “modern” social media features were added, stuff like personal timelines, photo/video uploading, likes/interests, profiles and much more!
But you might be wondering, why not just get the same information on similar Facebook/Reddit groups? It’s quite simple – A dedicated app, solely working towards “better parenting” is far better at its job compared to a semi active page on Facebook.
Similarly, you could find a date on some random page on Facebook or download Tinder and have all the tools at the ready!
Reason 1: The cyclical nature of humanity
With the (relatively) recent remakes of Disney’s Aladdin, Mulan, Beauty and the Beast; as well as the upcoming Spawn II, Police Academy and Sister act among many other “old” classics; We now see a resurgence of 80-90s coming back to life.
Experts in pop-culture, call this the history/nostalgia pendulum. And we want to argue that “Software Development” and especially “Social Media” is and will go through it as well.
Remember we’ve discussed how the first platforms to supply proto-social media features were BBS-es and IRCs. Well in short consider the popular applications that keep growing at alarming rate.
We’re of course talking about Discord, Telegram, WhatsApp, etc. All of these apps are on the rise and have been showing great growth for the past 5 years.
Now let’s take a look at what a Discord server looks like:
All those are custom created chat boards by the main Admin of the server.
Everyone who’s been invited to the server has access to these or said “boards” can have customizable access. Oh, and of course there are various bots who supply you with latest news, information, or specific data upon request, with a simple command like “-news” or “-weather” etc.
Doesn’t this seem a tad familiar? Of course it does. Any 30-year-old can transpose Discord to mIRC or their fav BBS.
Obviously, Discord supplies a sleek dashboard, video conferencing features and much more. Anyone can easily buy and quickly set up their own Discord server in a matter of minutes.
Even all of those “modern” messengers seem to be a redesign of long departed veterans such as AOL, Yahoo, ICQ or Odigo IMs. The twists themselves are a come-back. For instance, AIM and ICQ offered secure IMs long before WhatsApp, Signal or Telegram did.”
It is all just history repeating itself
A number of experts in the field, from social anthropologists to Software scientists and researchers, draw parallels from the present moment and previous eras, then extrapolate their conclusions based on current trends.
Essentially if you want to find the next thing that’s going to trend, simply take a look at what happened in the past 30 years, and chances are, you’ll hit the jackpot!
Kenneth Cukier, senior editor at The Economist and co-author of “Big Data” predicted:
“What the open-source software movement did for business it will do for politics. Already, groups of pioneering software coders are getting together and developing tools that enable the public to weigh on in politics – it even has a name: ‘civic tech.’ A new generation of citizen simply expects politics to be as efficient as Uber and Netflix – and if it isn’t, they’re working to change that.”
Aside from social reforms, we can already see the change various laws bring when it comes to user privacy and transparency of information which brings us to:
Reason 2: The need for new social media platforms
We obviously have undisputed leaders of the market, with arguable monopolies like Facebook, Google, Microsoft etc. However, recent statistics show the slow decline of these platforms, especially around younger generations. Kids and teenagers simply see it as “old” and what their parents use.
And let’s face it, not every kid wants their parents to know absolutely everything they do. Hence, we see the popularity of platforms like SnapChat, TikTok or Omegle; especially so among the younger generations.
Then we have other movements which promote de-coupling themselves from popular social media and the curated “proper lifestyle” or simply the massive flux of bad news. Some studies even show supporting data to the rise of “depression and loneliness” and attribute it to massive social media platforms.
Quoting the various pressures people experience trying to mimic the “proper” lifestyle, going out with friends, having children, getting a new job. Doubly so for impressionable teenagers.
We all only post the good stuff that happens in our life, this leads to false sense that “everyone’s got it figured out”. And we all know that is not the case.
This is not to mention the pressure in becoming “influencers” and directly correlating their number of likes to their “success” in life.
Others cite the massive privacy problems that these popular giants have.
This readily and quickly explains the radical change social media platforms experience with slower registrations and rise of more “private” and anonymous platforms like Telegram, Discord, Viber and other.
Remember that most of these “new” platforms have a target audience, trying to accommodate a certain demographic. I.e Discord is primarily targeted at gamers.
So, you can be certain that the next best thing to solve these issues, will be the next Facebook in 2030-2040, until the cycle repeats again of course.
Generally, predict the future of Social Media giants like Facebook, Instagram or Twitter is bleak indeed, which brings us to:
Reason 3: After old comes the new
We’ve already mentioned the decline of popular social media platforms. And it’s quite understandable why. If we look at how Facebook began for instance, most registrations were from colleges and then when it opened to a wider public. It still had primarily young people registering.
Eventually however, parents and grownups caught up to the new trend, and began making their own accounts. However, as the guardian put it: Parents killed Facebook.
Facebook might brag about their growth metrics, but reality is that most of those users are consist of 65+ age, being the fastest growing demographic on Facebook.
And if you’ve paid attention, what killed MySpace eventually, the same poisoning is happening by younger social media in regard to Facebook. TikTok was the top downloaded App of 2020, with about 2 billion downloads globally. More than half of those users are between 16-24 years old.
As we’ve stated, this might be the best time to try and occupy the upcoming niche and create the next trendy thing that young people will flock to. Afterall TikTok simply replaced Vine, the trendiest thing back in 2013-2015.
TikTok will inevitably go down, and the cycle will repeat itself. Some even claim that TikTok is well on its way to go out. So, why not prepare yourself to occupy the “soon to be empty” niche?
Ideas on what you might want to develop right now
Social Media app for Hikers
Let’s picture a social platform solely dedicated to hikers, mountaineers, campers, park rangers and nature enthusiasts. And while there are some options already out there, most of them simply focus on one tiny thing. Specifically, routes and “good places” which is great, however let’s add more networking features.
We’re talking about the ability to provide life chats with other enthusiasts, groups where you can ask for advice, routes, alternatives, even send them private pictures of things you’ve seen, or places you found to scale that mountain or bypass the forest.
Don’t forget about security and safety, have this app track the device with GPS, specify the approximative area you’re planning to visit, and if its far away from any towers, specify how long you will be unreachable.
In case something goes wrong, rescue groups or authorities will have more information on last seen location, planned routes and other data they might need. Your application can even call for these services by having two different clients, one on your device, another on the main server. In case a proper “handshake” is not made after 24-48 hours, it will automatically refer this information to the proper authorities.
Have your profile of places you’ve visited akin to Foursquare with their check-in mayorship gamification approach! Rank other’s trips, photos, achievements – the opportunities are boundless!
Sport enthusiasts in your city
A platform connecting you with people who are seeking people to play various sport activities together. Picture an application that you register on akin to Facebook, but it focuses directly on providing you with playmates in your cities.
It has a full database of all available arenas in the city! You can create a group of your own or join an existing one, that for instance plays on weekends. Or you can declare your group “open” and look for more members if you’re lacking players.
An algorithm can select users who’ve registered and expressed interest to play your sport, the app requests available timetables and location. Chances of someone driving halfway across the city for an hour-long game are slim. But someone within a 5–10-minute walk, easy!
Creating a profile, you can rate groups and vice-versa, specify your time and sports you’re looking to play.
The app can also connect random users and create groups on itself, if for example 12+ people have expressed interest to play volleyball for instance in your area. This platform can then connect these users, and using its database of courts/arenas, can “book” you all together. Create a rules database, open group chats with trainers, or friends and ask them for advice. Any and all networking features would be very welcome in this premise.
Yet again, starting off as an app/platform for one little objective, it’s easy to grow from there!
DIY repairs network like wiki-how
Let’s imagine a wiki-how, and various sub-reddits dedicated to DIY repairs at home, but as a dedicated app. You might think that “well those alternatives already exist” or “I’m subscribed to a similar page on Facebook”; but what you must understand is that a dedicated application will always outtrump some page, with slow response rate, or lack of tools to provide you with a quality answer.
This app can have a massive database of pages on how to achieve most common repair issues in your house, but also a massive networking community. Group chats with various licensed specialists, an outlet for “cheat and affordable” solutions or services. Profiles with a rank like system, gamifying the process of helping strangers on the internet!
Don’t forget about security, a proper encrypted channel for pictures, or your address should you not want to disclose it, is very important.
A dedicate app can and will provide these options. Connect with various DIY enthusiasts across the globe, ask them pointed questions, or offer your work for “rating”.
That about does it. Hopefully we have given you enough food for thought regarding what you can create and become the next best thing!
And hey! If you’re struggling on “how you can create something like that”, consider going for a web-app to start! Don’t know that is? We’ve got you covered!
Better yet just give us a quick message and we’ll get you rolling and your fantastic idea forward!
Before you go, tell us in the comments – What is your favourite social media platform, and which one you feel is a solid “meh”?
Stay classy business and tech nerds!