Facebook fatigue sets in slowly. You begin to check it less often; the constant bombardment of likes starts to grate. You don’t give a flying Farmsville if your second cousin or random from school sends you a goat. The layout changes yet again, it’s all a bit confusing, so you turn to Twitter, Instagr.am, G+, Path, even if you are ahead of the pack.
Facebook tends to be the dullard of the social media set. Less pretty than Instagr.am, the middle aged aunt of Twitter, and the dinsosaur relative of Path it continues to evolve, but is it enough to keep us loyal and “liking”?
Lifecasting is still with us, but 2011 saw it take a new, more aesthetic form.
Our online representation is less about the bands we like ( that’s so My Space era), and much more about the visual, the creative. Enter Instagr.am, and the other booming aesthetic platform, Pinterest. These are the social networks which make our lives prettier. We don’t lifecast so much as life project, managing the world’s perception of our image. We dont just drink coffee, we drink it snapped by a lomo-blurred lense in dense colours preferably somewhere with vintage cups and a colourful interior. We live in a saturated, colour enhanced world, a better version than the real thing to proclaim our hipster credentials to all who follow.
So why is the visual so important? iPhonography is booming, and the apps available to snap and share in real time make sharing polaroid slices of life easier than ever. Visual updates are more digestable than words, easy to scan and contribute to the coolness of all involved: an Inkstagram screen saver is a stream of imagery from your feeds that brings the world to you as it happens, so much nicer to look at than columns of tweets. Tumblr has been a stepping stone to the current landscape.
We are going to the visual because screen culture is continuing to develop – new tablets and iPad-esque devices are appearing, and the ability to view on portable screens is becoming so much easier. We want things to look nice. If they look nice we want to read more, to share more, to be more. Visual lifecasting makes us look cool by default.
Pinterest has exploded on the scene by being added as a Facebook integration this week. The long-time obsession of fashionistas and bloggers who have lost eons of time amongst it’s boards, now is the time for Pinterest. It is possible to convey how cool you are by amassing moodboards of beautiful things, no creative skills are needed other than pressing the re-pin button. It is accessible, easy, and more broadcastable than ever.
So, where next? I predict a few things to watch this year.
– Sound casting: if visual is all the rage what about sound and audio? Keep your eye on how Youtube, Vimeo and SoundCloud are used and evolve this year.
– More narrow casting channels: selective casting like Path means it is easier to share with people you actually want to, other than people-from-school-you-dont-know-but-feel-bad-deleting on Facebook, or the entire world on Twitter.
– Watch how Google + deals with imagery. We have seen their new search facility change to include g+ users more prominently, now watch and se if Picasa becomes cooler, or if streams become more visually led.
– “Pin it” being the new “like” or “+1”
– more API keys for Pinterest and Instagr.am to be used on various ways on and offline.
– An increase in designer geekchic; if blogs and sites are required to be more visually pleasing then designers who can code and coders who design will be in demand. Making your blogs pretty will be of huge importance.
What do you think? Have you got Facebook fatigue? How are you using the visual social platforms? Let me know, answers on an instagr.am.