If there’s one constant in social media, it’s change. So as this year comes to a close, we’re taking a look at some of the social media trends we think will affect what we all Pin, Tweet, post, and hashtag in 2016.
1. Twitter in transition
This year was hardly smooth sailing for Twitter. In October, co-founder Jack Dorsey returned as CEO to a company that was in a “new state of disarray” (in the words of The New York Times) and dealing with membership numbers that seemed all but stuck. Changes have started happening, and in the coming year we’ll see how they play out.
2. Video roars
Video is hardly a new social media trend, but as, 2016 nears, it feels poised to become an even greater force. According to Fast Company, 70 percent of companies say video is their most effective online marketing tool. Rising networks like Snapchat are helping fuel video’s growing dominance, but familiar networks like Facebook are also determined to be major players with video. Video views on Facebook doubled from April through November, Marketing Land reports, hitting an average of 8 billion a day.
3. Getting real
As 2015 closes, one of the biggest viral hits is “Instagram Husbands,”which parodies the idea of Instagrammers obsessed with showing off a perfectly photogenic lifestyle. That video comes on the heels of Socality Barbie, a now-discontinued Instagram account that poked fun at all the carefully engineered “authenticity” on the network. More seriously, teen social media star Essena O’Neill pulled the plug on her accounts, but not before decrying her past posts as inauthentic and unhealthy.
While we’d never predict the end of meticulously staged macaron or latte art shots, we are expecting to see a little more content that’s irreverent and unvarnished in 2016.
4. To buy or not to buy
“Buy” buttons on various social networks had a lot of buzz in 2015, but they haven’t made much of an impression on holiday shoppers, according to re/code — even though momentum seemed to shift to online shopping as a whole this holiday season. But the real test could come in 2016 as the “buy” options become more widely available. One of the key things to pay attention to in social shopping is how Instagram‘s “Shop Now” button fares. The ‘gram, says Social Times, has the most users who are interested in shopping on that network.
5. The social world
Finally, it should be fascinating to see how social media shapes the news headlines of 2016. With the heart of the 2016 presidential campaign still to come, social media already feels like a more powerful source of information and opinion than it did even four years ago. And as we understand more about the role of social media in the spread of terrorism, networks will be increasingly scrutinized.
What are your predictions for 2016 social media trends? Tell us below in comments.
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Sarah Beckham is a freelance writer and editor based in Austin, Texas.