Does Social Media Have a Future?

As a community work space in downtown Salt Lake City, Work Hive focuses on how to help our members become more productive in their work. For most of us, digital distractions from social media are a huge obstacle to focus and productive work.

The world of social media is saturated. It started off as a platform farm that was for exactly what its title suggests: socializing. Facebook was so successful in the beginning because it connected people instantly on a college campus and then around the entire world. Instagram blew up because that connection could be made via photos and stories told about where you went and things you did.

But then you could advertise on them. Then you could sell stuff. Then you could promote yourself and be an "influencer". Then you could create scams. Then you could send spam. Then you could corrupt data. Then you can spend money on advertising. Then advertising takes over all of your news feeds.

And then we get overwhelmed. Children get bullied. Self-worth plummets. More money is spent on advertising. Then our work suffers. Then our in-person social skills atrophy.

Then people start "social media fasting", which means that it has become an addiction.

Through advertising and algorithms and interactivity, social media platforms use cognitive hooks to make sure we remain addicted to the tactile, visual, and emotional feedback that using their app gives us.

In an article that analyzes the cultural and business trends related to social media usage, the author MIchael Spencer states "We went from over-sharing to over-consuming to not caring at all." As soon as something no longer feels like it is glorifying our needs to the highest degree, we move on. Our attention span is tiny.

This is why the author also goes on to discuss how younger people now are focusing more on quick video consumption instead of tweets or instagram. If reading a tweet or looking at a picture is too mundane or too slow, where will our attention go next?

"Where will we go after social media and useless apps? That’s not even clear — hopefully back to living more balanced and fulfilling lives. Mobile app addiction is at an all-time high and yet social media is not a place that’s holding our attention like it used to. Yet paradoxically brands are set to spend even more on their Social media investment, as there’s nowhere else to go. Ads have killed consumer experiences in apps and it’s going to mean an even more warped digital world."