Tag: social media (page 1 of 20)

The Social Media Archipelago

On 1st October, I’ll be transitioning the Thought Shrapnel newsletter to Substack. More about that here. What’s interesting is the ecosystem that’s being created there — including Substack Notes, which is where I came across this post.

I’ve several things to say about this hand-drawn map of the ‘social media archipelago’. First, as the top commenter on the post notes, it’s similar to a classic xkcd cartoon from 2007 and shows how much the landscape has changed.

Second, Chelsea Troy quite rightly points out that we’ve got a Twitter-shaped hole in the internet, which people are filling with either private communities (Slack/Discord), the Fediverse (Mastodon, etc.), or Twitter-like things (Bluesky, etc.)

What I think they’re missing is.. Substack Notes. For someone who loves reading and writing, it’s full of interesting people sharing thoughtful things. You can find my notes here.

To anyone looking to navigate the ongoing perils of social media, it can be a challenging and daunting task. An adventure marked by intense trepidation and foreboding, by fear and doubt. But worry no longer, I have drawn a map.

I present to you, The Social Media Archipelago.

Whether you’re lost among the Musky Mountains or the Dunk Swamps of Twitterland, or in the selfie-obsessed Forest of Mirrors on the Isle of Insta, I hope this chart can be a helpful guide on your journey. Never again be stranded among the bleak deserts of Facebook, no interesting content in sight. Never again be sucked into the maelstrom of the Doomscroll, forever locked among the whirlpools of cheap dopamine hits.

Instead, look toward the lone peak of innocent hopes, reminiscent of the heady days of the early internet, where healthy conversation and good faith debate may yet flourish. Look to the terra novalis, known to the early cartographers as the mythical land of Substackus Notum.

Or in the common tongue — Substack Notes.

(it was a slow day at work ok)

Source: Note by M. E. Rothwell on Substack

The punishment for being authentic is becoming someone else’s content

This short piece by Drew Austin reminds me of a couple of links I posted yesterday about Non-places and TikTok’s effect on migration. There are so many quotable parts, including that when it comes to social media, “the only place left to go is outside”.

What I think is interesting is how online and offline used to be seen as completely separate. Then we realised the impact that offline life had on online life, and now we’re seeing the reverse: Instagram, TikTok, etc. having a huge impact on the spaces in which we exist offline.

“In the next few years,” Kyle Chayka tweeted yesterday, “the last desperate search for shreds of authentic local culture will convulse the globe as the internet consumes every interesting quirk and scales it up to the size of TikTok.” That all-too-plausible prediction fits well alongside Chayka’s concept of AirSpace and his observations about overtourism, each examining how social media has come to shape the physical world (or at least vent its noxious exhaust there) instead of merely reflecting it. If AirSpace represents the homogenizing tendency of globally scaled algorithmic platforms like Instagram and Airbnb, which herd everything they touch into aesthetic alignment, then TikTok’s impact seems like the opposite: the cultivation and amplification of difference by a desperate horde of content creators scouring the ends of the earth for new material. The latter ultimately has the same entropic effect as the former, reframing local nuances as temporary viral microtrends that diffuse through culture, form the basis for a thinkpiece or two, and then recede back to their original modest scale. This may be ephemeral but it is pervasive and ongoing. In the contemporary landscape, the punishment for being authentic is becoming someone else’s content.


The illusion that the internet and “real life” are two separate universes has been thoroughly dispelled by now, but the nature of their interaction is complex and evolving. The social media era seems to have already peaked, as I predicted at the end of last year, calling our present moment a “saturation point of cultural self-consciousness that represents the fullest possible synthesis of reality and our digitally mediated perception of it.” The metaverse concept was dead on arrival; there’s nowhere left to go but outside. And that’s what we’re doing: TikTok is the social network for the internet’s decadent era, embodying the worldview that becoming viral content is the highest calling, the end state to which everything aspires and strives. You visit Italy not to enjoy yourself but to help Italy fulfill its destiny as a meme.

Source: I’m Beginning to See the Light | Kneeling Bus

It’s all about the DMs

I think it’s fascinating that this article uses a zeugma to explain what’s happened to places that we’ve called home online. In other words, we’ve moved from social media to social media with the emphasis on the content and performance rather than the sharing.

The fatigue average people feel when it comes to posting on Instagram has pushed more users toward private posting and closed groups. Features like Close Friends (a private list of people who have access to your content) and the rise of group chats give people a safer place to share memes, gossip with friends, and even meet new people. It’s less pressure — they won’t mind if I didn’t blur out the pimple on my forehead — but this side of Instagram hardly fulfills the original free-flowing  promise of social media.


Despite the efforts of big incumbents and buzzy new apps, the old ways of posting are gone, and people don’t want to go back. Even Adam Mosseri, the head of Instagram, admitted that users have moved on to direct messages, closed communities, and group chats. Regularly posting content is now largely confined to content creators and influencers, while non-creators are moving toward sharing bits of their lives behind private accounts.

As more people have been confronted with the consequences of constant sharing, social media has become less social and more media — a constellation of entertainment platforms where users consume content but rarely, if ever, create their own. Influencers, marketers, average users, and even social-media executives agree: Social media, as we once knew it, is dead.


And if Instagram was the bellwether for the rise and fall of the “social” social-media era, it is also a harbinger of this new era. “If you look at how teens spend their time on Instagram, they spend more time in DMs than they do in stories, and they spend more time in stories than they do in feed,” Mosseri said during the “20VC” interview. Given this changing behavior, Mosseri said the platform has shifted its resources to messaging tools. “Actually, at one point a couple years ago, I think I put the entire stories team on messaging,” he said.

Source: Social media is dead | Insider