Apps Arts Creativity Social Media

Reading: The network’s the thing

How many people reading this have already uploaded a landscape or portrait photo to Instagram 🙋?  I’ve gone back and forth but appreciate Instagram’s decision to make square optional. Landscape mode lets your videos breathe.

1 in 5 Instagrams rejected the square format. Instead of resisting the data, Instagram gave into its community. Why wouldn’t it?

“In fact, this move by Instagram validates the power of their network. If they were failing they either wouldn’t have survived long enough to make such a move or it would be positioned as some desperate pivot. Instagram is dealing from a position of strength here, expanding the flexibility of its tools to meet the needs of a still growing user base.”

Now, how many people reading this post have tweeted this week? Right.

Twitter is the Swiss Army Knife of social networks but when you can tweet anything you end up tweeting nothing. Some people can’t cope with that creative freedom. For all the fence-sitters, yes, retweets are endorsements.

Twitter needs to scratch the itch and modernize. It can start by excluding usernames from its 140 character limit. Or, to be more aggressive:

“I’d actually remove the 140 character limit on Tweets as well, though such a move would undoubtedly spawn even more of a public outcry than Instagram’s move since so many power users of Twitter are journalists. Yes, a 140 character limit enforces some concision in writing, rewarding the witty among us, but it also alienates a lot of people who hate having to edit a thought multiple times just to fit in the arbitrary limit.”

If social networks are places, the networks have to keep them fun to hang out. That means adapting to the way people communicate online without disrupting the experience for the hardcore users. At the end of the day, a social network thrives on its strong content, a little bit of human curation (fuck algorithms), and a vibrant community. In short, social networking has to be fast, fun, and mobile, an extension of today’s fast-paced lifestyle. That’s why Snapchat is perfect.

Eugene Wei’s blog:  “The network’s the thing”


Share on:

By Wells Baum

Wells Baum is a daily blogger who writes about Life & Arts. He's also the author of and four books.