The Next Big Battle For Social Media Platforms — Serving Timely Posts
The next social media platform battle to win is:
Working out timely posts vs timeless posts.
Seeing new news vs old news is vitally important and often leads to poor user experience.
Seeing important news vs less impactful news is essential.
So here are two use cases to emphasis the point.
1/ The Sports Use Case:
- Important for the fans
- Timely and time sensitive
- 1 hour engagement cycle
- Less timely — what just happened only matters for a few minutes
- High engagement (engagement dies over time because of time)
- High importance
- Highly timely
- Impactful for a few seconds to 90 minutes. Less instant engagement, important over time, important moments and becomes important milestones.
Why serve scoring information after the match? Scores at the end of the game is important.
- Less important
- Less timely
- More engagement — keeps the content going over time. It can be important for the players, for the teams, for the account.
FWIW: This is where threading was likely to evolve but never really took off away from Twitter.
2/ News Clips Use Case
- Important now
- Timeline unknown
- High impact
- Less important now
- Likely long term timeline — so will be long news-cycle
- High impact
Lead International Story
- Timeline unknown
- Impact low
All this means the time stamp is highly impactful and understanding these dynamics is really difficult to play through, like the newsroom evolved, social networks and platforms have to too.
Time Bonus: The worst kept secret of super-apps and TikTok is mapping out time, use cases and reducing time as a friction point enabled them to build huge user bases and reduce friction for its users.
Productising Your Data: Where social networks know little information to almost every move you make to serving you with highly relevant content, this can be extremely complicated or in some instances your profile attributes can make this relatively easy to serve.
FOMO or JOMO: Why would the platform adopt this? Pair these points with understanding how to serve FOMO (fear = more usage and more checks) vs serving a way for users to understand JOMO before watching the content you serve. Joy of missing out is something many platforms are promoting, these features enable better content (cards in many feeds) and more targeting.
Stories Didn’t Work Across Multiple Platforms:
Each platform needs this working out especially for their feeds not individual profiles, although stories is a mini open window into the profile, the 24 hour disposable content was a way to filter and encourage more usage, not better usage.
What Platforms Are For
- Facebook at its core now is for parents, sharing pictures of their kids and keeping up appearances online.
- Instagram & LinkedIn for near past & near future.
These use cases are fine, the challenge in the video first and TikTok driven content is serving content that is:
Timely x Relevant x (that will) bring users back is = a delightful experience.
- TikTok is for entertainment bursts, time stamps should matter less, however this is unlikely going to be the case with endless content
- Twitter is for now, its for what is happening in many ways. Tweets rarely age well and is something Twitter have battled with for years, do we build for the never ending time sensitive timeline or do we try and surface recent and best content. The answer both but in the way you as the user selects.
- Most chat apps and instant messengers are for the now; very rarely are they for reliving the past or planning to far in the future. This is why messengers struggle to move away from person or group and chronological timeline views.
Work & Time Is Key: If you work inside teams or slack, you will see how quickly messages time out or are too focused on the blame game (the past) or rarely about the future campaigns or projects — this is why these style networks / chat apps struggle to be useful once a large network or multiple groups use it.
If you are part of an active Discord server, you know how usefulness and being active is so important, otherwise becomes unuseable.
- Pinterest is for planning, it is for the future you. Rarely is the use card to save moments, it can be a good look back but the use case is to save things for the future. Serving timely content is not as relevant, serving content that inspires or is ultra relevant is more important here.
The one platform that breaks this….Reddit, Reddit’s use case is for every use case (the past, the now, the future) and varies so much that your feed is driven by the subreddits you subscribe to and engage with.
The Future: Video 😬
2022 is going to be filled with updates, filled with more video but likely unless social networks crack time and importance of time — most will struggle with making their networks more useful for their users and becoming time sucks filled with ~20% of wasted content and time.