Andy Warhol once said, “They always say time changes things, but you actually have to change them yourself.”
He probably wasn’t talking specifically about social media apps. But it's precisely the case currently. Many of your favorite social media apps have been around for a longtime, but people are changing the way they use them. Are these alternate use cases what the founders thought the app would become used for? Maybe, maybe not.
What started as a place for people to connect with friends and family almost two decades ago turned into a platform where people now plan events, raise money for charities, buy/sell products, and join niche communities. Oh, and let’s not forget that it’s pretty much the only way anyone remembers their friends’ birthdays anymore. Thanks, Facebook, for that!
Twitter was originally called “Status” and was a place for people to communicate short messages. Fifteen years later, people use the platform to participate in discussions, spread messages quickly, promote blogs, raise brand awareness, and according to a blog by Hootsuite, 12% people are using the app as a news source.
Instagram started as a really simple platform that allowed users to do three things: upload pictures, comment on pictures, and like pictures. You could call it a stripped-down version of Facebook. A decade later, it has become so much more. People use their feed as a website, find new recipes and even use it in place of apps like Pinterest to save and organize visual posts into folders.
Before merging with Musical.ly and rebranding to TikTok just five years ago, the app used to be known as Douyin. All were basically singing and dancing in small clips. Today, it’s become known as a large online community in which people share videos that can go viral at any second. It’s a go-to for finding DIY projects, new recipes, and more. Some people even find themselves searching for tutorials on TikTok rather than going to YouTube.
Clubhouse started as an invite-only platform that allowed people to connect with others around the world through audio. In recent news, Clubhouse, an app that’s barely a year old was actually used for international dialogue and peacemaking between Israelis and Palestinians. If such a heavy topic of conversation can happen on such a young platform like this one, can’t wait to hear what this app will host next.
Have you found an “out-of-the-box” use for one of your social apps? We’d love to hear it!