Social Media

Will All This Elon Musk-Fueled Tech Chaos Change Social Media?

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

There is no doubt that the social media landscape is in flux. It will soon be a year since Elon Musk completed his acquisition of Twitter, killing off its blue checkmark that used to signify verified users and replacing the Twitter brand with X.

At the same time, fast-advancing technologies based on artificial intelligence (AI) are redefining user journeys and expectations. How can existing social media platforms and entertainment tech players position themselves at a time when hard-to-predict industry shifts keep coming at breakneck speed?

As Group CEO of FunCorp, a developer of entertainment tech, my team and I are closely watching these developments.

Chaos at the company formerly known as Twitter (what a mouthful!) has at least temporarily boosted the user numbers for Mastodon, helping this smaller platform, based on a decentralized social networking protocol, grow. Within a few months of the ‘Mastodon craze’ and Twitter’s advertising revenue plunging 50%, Meta announced its new social media app, Threads.

While Threads achieved the fastest-ever acquisition of more than 150 million users—largely thanks to its tie-in with Instagram—questions about the longevity of its users’ enthusiasm for the new app remain.

Related: “Thread” Lightly: What Brands Need To Know About This Emerging Social Media Platform

So, what are the lessons learned for the rest of us, navigating this turbulent landscape and competing for eyeballs and revenue dollars in the current environment? My main takeaway is to tighten our seatbelts and continue doing what we do best. For Funcorp, this means catering to our customer base within the memes and short-form entertainment niche.

Despite the changing face of social media, the universal need to unwind, check out of our daily troubles and be entertained has not gone away. The cost-of-living crisis, having to compete for jobs with artificial intelligence, worrying about the changing climate and other ongoing pressures mean that the stress epidemic is unlikely to subside anytime soon.

Mobile-first short-form entertainment has great mass appeal even amid an ongoing discussion about the purpose of social media, screen time regulation and age restrictions for platforms that offer bite-sized mobile fun. While some big tech and social media companies might be playing musical chairs, we are staying the course of offering our users an opportunity to share humorous content they make themselves.

Related: Elon Musk Expresses Concern Over X’s Future, Says It ‘May Fail’ Amid Turbulent Year

I believe that staking a claim to a specific niche is the best way forward in this uncertain environment. From my vantage point, I certainly see a bright future for memes and the short-form video content space of user-generated content (UGC) platforms—it’s a niche we will continue to develop despite the storm raging in the wider industry.

The advancement of AI and its new applications are, of course, affecting all of us. While AI is making it easier to generate content, including text, images and video, users are increasingly looking for authentic and relatable content – which is still hard, if not impossible, for AI to produce.

User-generated content is still king regarding funny videos, memes and similar short-form entertainment, while AI works backstage to enhance how it is delivered and consumed.

User-generated content also comes with challenges, like a need for moderation, which can be difficult to execute. We are continuously improving our approach to moderation and use a combination of AI-based tools, human moderation and community oversight to help weed out harmful content. There is still no perfect solution, as this is an ongoing process.

Another thing we think deeply about is what our users want and expect from their entertainment apps. While mobile technologies potentially make us less sociable as a society, the opposite is true of the digital world.

Related: Elon Musk Randomly Goes Live in the Middle of the Night to Post Video of Him Lifting Weights

No matter what social media or entertainment platform we look at, there is a clear trend towards greater interactivity. Users are no longer passive consumers who just want to play a game or watch a video. Increasingly, they prefer to interact with others, share memes, comment on the videos they watch and otherwise engage with their digital communities and audiences. This trend is prompting the integration of social media functionality into mobile entertainment apps, and we’re watching this trend closely.

Another pronounced trend is that consumers are starting to expect more immersive, personalized, interactive, real-time, multimodal and accessible experiences. As a result of changing user expectations, we are seeing greater competition among gaming and mobile entertainment companies to meet these expectations by pushing out new AR- and VR-enabled features. This industry journey will likely continue, with more exciting products coming to market shortly.

Even though this might sound old-fashioned, I will stay calm and carry on, keeping my sight set firmly on new technology and UX trends and letting the big techs fight it out in social media.

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