Hyperfragmentation, the Latest Digital Frontier?

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Every day, new platforms expand the borders, as new possibilities arise, and your brand must face this challenge and the unknown.

BY: ANDREA CARTATEGUI, DIGITAL DIRECTOR AT FCB MEXICO

The digital universe continues to expand. Every day, new platforms push the borders as new possibilities arise. The major drivers of change are technology and human habits, what appears to be the definition of humanity, even in the digital social sphere.

Since MySpace and Hi5 emerged in 2003, a lot has happened. The digital landscape was transformed into a complex universe with systems within systems where social giants  –FacebookTwitterYouTube – try to keep the audience captivated through the amount of information and continuous improvement in their algorithms to give us what we know we want or need.

Trying to squeeze through the gaps by neglecting the social platforms already established is not the way to progress. Finding the way to the next innovation as they seek to give users what they need is the way new social platforms shape the way of the digital future.

Privacy and anonymity

The massive distrust of data management by Facebook, Twitter and Google has led to the emergence of social platforms where users seek to be anonymous, to speak freely or to be free of marketing data.

Within the first category are the applications Whisper or Yik Yak, which allow users to reveal their darker secrets. These apps have given users the opportunity to free themselves in this world. They can be the confessionals of the 21st century. They are the places where you can say freely something that you cannot tell anyone else. It did not take long for these spaces of freedom of expression to be transformed into areas where bullying, mockery, malicious comments and the worst of human interactions took charge.

Currently, such networks are seriously challenged, not only by how users have used the app, but also because the anonymity promised is a fiction.

But all is not bad. The popularity of these applications has revealed an unmet need: the vulnerability of millennials and the emotional isolation that many experience in this reality of hyperconnectivity.

This discovery has created a new generation of anonymous apps like Silent Secret and Big Whale Wall, focused on supporting those who request this anonymity and are capable of redirecting them to support groups in the area where the user is located.

Privacy and data management appear to be more commercially complicated. Anonymity does not prevent the presence of advertising and can be segmented by age, content or geolocation. But if the promise is zero advertising, marketing zero data makes it an economically unviable platform. This is one of the issues that it faces.

The concept of privacy had a strong initial boost due to several errors in the data management of Facebook, then seemed to be forgotten; however, now it is back in the spotlight.

Private communities are still small, but very active. Users are naturally bringing together small micro communities with specific interests and very high levels of engagement. As social media continues to evolve, its future is unclear but it’s interesting to follow these digital experiments and watch the change.

Image to microvideo

The image is losing its leadership to the video. Not just any video, but short videos that are only a few seconds in length, where the challenge of time makes absurd stories that are creative and hilarious.

The undisputed leaders in this category are Instagram and Vine. Although penetration levels are not as high, affinity posting with young millennials and centennials, as well as the ability to tell a story, makes them extremely attractive platforms for brands.

Although many teens are experienced at making short videos, few of them are doing it successfully; despite this, the microvideo future looks promising.

On demand vs. streaming 

Digital is in many ways synonymous with “when I want” and “how I want.” Therefore, social platforms are on-demand, such as Spotify for music or Netflix for video. They have become ubiquitous, that is, part of our daily conversation.

However, they are no longer a novelty and the challenge is to create new content.

Netflix is ​​on the crest of the wave, making the most of their assets, but has yet to improve the social experience. While Spotify, though the experience is satisfactory for users, needs to solve their financial problems and their relationship with the artists.

What has been a novelty this year was the presentation of Meerkat and Periscope, crossing microvideo to real time and focusing their values on the experience of passing along live experiences on another level. Despite the initial buzz and warm reception they both had, it remains to be seen how users and manufacturers will capitalize on this format.

Crowdfunding, social action, open source…

The digital community has become an engine for the support of new ideas, raising awareness and promoting social change. Platforms like Kickstarter or Change are an excellent source of material to understand insights, which new products generate support or which ideas are favored by the communities. This is the raw material of the future and it is advisable for manufacturers to monitor what is happening on these platforms.

Social digital media comes almost in the territory of science fiction. It is on open source platforms, as well as biodata. Platforms like OpenSPS invite users to send genetic material to scientists around the world and have access to it to carry out studies and research into this material. It may sound extreme, but this is a growing trend and gaining more followers every day, despite the number of ethical questions and privacy concerns.

The now and what’s coming

Digital is malleable and unpredictable in essence. Our duty is to understand how the now becomes the next. Do not be afraid to conduct experiments in new social platforms because the only thing that does not grow is what we dare not to do.

It’s healthy to designate a small percentage of our digital budget to experiment and learn, because if we want to make our mark in the coming challenges, we must face the unknown and be brave.