The ‘impermanent social internet’ may be our online future


Looking for a spicy hot-take of the day that doesn’t involve Game of Thrones? Try this one from journalist Mike Isaac. “The permanent social internet is dying. The impermanent social internet will need to replace it. And it will be even more difficult to make money on such an internet than it was before.” That’s the thesis for his piece titled ‘Nothing Bad Can Stay’, which explores what happens next, after a couple of years of regular privacy controversies caused by the biggest social platforms.

“The bottom line is that we don’t want our histories to come back and f**k us,” is how Isaac puts it, noting Mark Zuckerberg’s recent prediction that people will share more ‘stories’ on his company’s apps than regular news-feed posts this year.

“Making money off of Stories is not as simple as making money from the News Feed. The advertising formats are fundamentally different,” suggests Isaac. “It’s easy to skip a story ad with a tap of the finger. You don’t linger on the image or video as long when you realise it’s an ad. And the less time you spend on ads, the less Facebook gets paid. That’s a remarkable contrast to how much time people spent lingering on news feed ads… as people realise their digital pasts are a liability and post less frequently, are some of these companies going to grow smaller and less lucrative? Will Facebook — the biggest social network on the planet — end up shrinking? Will those annual revenues dry up?”

Stuart Dredge

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