I’m such a big fan of the way Union Square Ventures shares information… In fact, getting to read Fred Wilson’s AVC every day is what inspired this blog.
My wife Rachel Springate follows his partner Rebecca Kaden, and apparently I need to as well after her latest post. It starts like this…
If the last decade has been a time of digital abundance–more followers, more “friends,” more apps–2019 looks to be the year of paring down. 2018 saw the first significant decline in time spent on site for Facebook. Users are deleting the app and replacing it with tools to track screen time. But our desire to find community and connection, and to leverage technology to do so in more effective and efficient ways, hasn’t changed. As a result, the coming years will likely be a time of renewed opportunity in new forms of social systems, the kind that has been difficult to come by during the major platforms’ ascension and dominance.
This is not to say the incumbent platforms are going anywhere anytime soon. But there is likely to be a splintering significant enough to create new startup entrants with the chance to own consumer needs.
So what now?
The next wave of social systems will likely emphasize breadth and depth differently than the last–and may not look much like social networks at all. With the current networks, the horizontal nature of the platform is the product. Users come for the community. But it may be that with the next, the community is what keeps users long term engaged but is formed around another intent. Come for an action, stay for the community.
Interests are what tie us together, but mainstream social media’s attempt at scale has created a mission too broad for many of us.
If user engagement is the most important sign of healthy usage and growth, then whichever future platform builds Community best will improve our lives and change the way we think about social forever.