We don't want more social networks whether they come from Trump, Dorsey or Zuckerberg
It is unclear whether or not the world is ready for what is coming its way. With a war on the way, a coronavirus that refuses to go away and an economy based on scarce components, geopolitical tensions are running high. Now, and going down to a more mundane, but also strategic terrain, a new leg is added. The complex world of social networks has been joined by another, -another one, yes- one that is not to the liking of the majority. Truth Social, the social network promoted by Donald Trump – and also financed, this is important – was released on Sunday in the US App Store.
With a view to its official launch in March of this year, the social network of the communications conglomerate TMTG is in the testing phase. To enter the platform called to be the “rival of the progressive media consortium” and the one that will stand up to the “fight against the big technology companies” you have to enter a waiting list that already reaches 6 figures. There are many who, either out of curiosity or out of true affiliation with Trump's ideals, want to peek into the world of Truth Social.
At the same time, the world of Meta – the real one, not the metaverse one – is not going through its best moment. For the first time in its history, Facebook is losing active users. Instagram and WhatsApp are stuck on a practically flat curve, but they are better than their older sister. It is the first time, since the queen of social networks existed, that the strategy to win and keep users climbs positions. Gone are those years, 2018 specifically, in which Facebook recognized the perniciousness of platforms in the lives of many people. It was in that year that digital health policies were activated with the objective of controlling the time that users remain within the platform itself. Facebook, and also Instagram, wanted happy users even if they spent less time inside the application. A position facing the gallery when the winds were blowing in their favor.
Those winds are gone. To a world without social networks, a trend that is beginning to take hold among those who have been in that world since smartphones and platforms converged. According to Statista, 93% of young people between 16 and 24 years old use one of the social networks of the moment. TikTok mostly. Those between 25 and 34 years old are positioned in the 85.8% most linked to Instagram. Those over 35, with 73%, are still related to Facebook. Not bad data if we take into account active users, but how many are those who keep the account in the background. Impossible to know, but there are more and more.
With these, and returning to Instagram, the social network has just eliminated its use limit – for those who want it – of 10 minutes. As Techcrunch has been able to analyze, the new minimum limit has gone from 10 to 30 minutes. They need people to spend more time on the social network and they need it urgently.
Photo by George Pagan III on Unsplash In this story we have several points of view. On the one hand, the number of social networks. The arrival of TikTok was a surprise for a world that pointed to a saturation of practically everything. Photos, videos, comments, shorts… It seems that everything has already been seen and, over and over again, models and formats are replicated. Is there no room for more social networks in the world? Not much less. It is the law of life. At some point Facebook will fall or stop being used. The same with Instagram or TikTok. The hole will have to be filled by someone.
Some will arrive to remove the position of others. Another thing is that these eyes see it, or that they get on the fashion bandwagon. But new proposals will come, hopefully with new ideas. For years there have been attempts. Some of them more recent than others. Moments, which we echoed in Hipertextual, tries to try its luck with a model that goes a little further than social networks: it works like a digital memory. There is also a social network for people with pets, Snuffle. For lovers of music, cinema, theater or any cultural section you can imagine. But this is about massive social networks, the kind that everyone has.
The new social networks copy much of what is good, but all of what is bad
And the problem, at least the one we have seen so far, is replicated wherever they go. The creation of Truth Social is the answer to the excesses of Facebook, Twitter or YouTube. That they were within their right and obligation is a fact. For the first time, social networks had to take part of the problem that they themselves had created. They had to clip the wings to a voice that was beginning to sound too loud. Too strong. Too influential. But the problem is that for many it has not been understood that way and they have migrated with the voice. The answer that comes up is that Truth Social will be the pair of Facebook or Twitter, but in response to what can no longer be said in them. How do we deal with freedom of expression segmented into two opposing worlds?
But the problem goes much further. The effect on minors, bullying, harassment, eating disorders that are born and grow under the protection of social networks that have drawn a perfect world are perpetuated and increase. The new social networks copy much of the good, but all of the bad. And the worst of all is that, even over time, we are not able to fix the problem that has exploded in our hands, within our smartphone. And worst of all, the new generations of social networks have gradually aggravated an issue that we will see where it comes from. Truth Social, whether Trump or not, is more than one problem. Or as they say, the same dog with another collar.