Social networking platforms have forever changed the way people communicate with one another.
Meeting someone new, staying in touch and developing relationships often entails an online component nowadays — especially for younger generations. It’s safe to say that social networking is here to stay, even as the platforms in use are constantly evolving.
Social Networking 1.0
Nearly 20 years ago, MySpace and Facebook, which now fall under the Meta Platforms Inc. META umbrella came onto the scene. As the first social networking platforms with a global reach, they radically transformed how people shared their interests and lives with one another.
By 2022, Facebook still has about 2.9 billion active monthly users. However, its recent name change to Meta on Oct. 28, 2021, is arguably indicative that the company is heading in a new direction. Not coincidentally, its use by younger people has sharply declined.
Social Networking 2.0
2012 saw a pivotal change with the introduction of Match Group Inc.’s MTCH Tinder app. The novel dating app, which allowed users to swipe left/right according to their preferences, saw 1 million matches in two months and 50 million matches in less than five months. Today, Tinder is still a major revenue generator.
Other players joining the dating app scene include Bumble Inc. BMBL, which reported a 70% increase in video calls during the pandemic. The demand for meeting new people online is incredibly strong, even in the post-pandemic world. Nowadays, more and more dating apps are putting greater focus on audio and video — especially when it comes to replacing pictures and text in the world of online social networking.
Social Networking 3.0
Boomers and millennials use social platforms mainly to keep in touch, communicate and share their daily lives, while Gen Z users show a heightened preference for entertainment features. Many are looking for fresh platforms that haven’t become oversaturated by their older siblings and parents.
TikTok is a prime example of this phenomenon. The video-hosting platform has swept the world, even overtaking Alphabet Inc.’s GOOGL Google to become the world's most-visited internet domain name in 2021. As of September, TikTok had more than 1 billion monthly active users after just four years in operation. Young people from all over the world share their lives on TikTok with short videos on a daily basis.
A trend seems to be emerging that puts audio and video at the forefront of the new social networking era. Vivid and three-dimensional information transmission reportedly draws greater attention from younger audiences and meets the differentiated social needs of a wider variety of global users.
Other platforms like the audio and video social matrices from NewBorn Town Inc. (HKG: 9911) including MICO, YoHo and Yumy, may show promise to be the beginning of the post-Tinder social networking era — one that emphasizes interesting content and real-time audio and video interaction experience.
MICO integrates live video, live chat and dynamic sharing; YoHo has voice groups with different themes, helping people who don’t want to reveal their faces to meet friends with the same interests; and Yumy creates connections through video matching, with its Impress in Ten feature giving users just 10 seconds to decide if they want to continue talking with a match.
Gen Z, possibly tired of traditional graphic social interaction, is reportedly flocking to audio and video social platforms represented by some like MICO to look for more interesting and fun social experiences. As social networking is entering its 3.0 era, with a greater focus on audio and video social content, novel platforms that meet the needs of young people might end up leading the era.
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Photo from Newborn Town MICO
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