• Mon. May 27th, 2024

Watch: TikTok and Meta’s latest moves signal a more commodified internet

Watch: TikTok and Meta's latest moves signal a more commodified internet


The Internet’s mega-platforms are slowly merging into a great blob of sameness, and even the hottest companies in the world are not immune from the trend. TikTok’s winning strategy to focus on short-form, vertical video has found fans amongst other Internet platforms, and now TikTok is taking a page from its rivals books, reportedly borrowing from what made them popular.

TikTok is working towards launching a new app called TikTok Notes that will allow users to post images in an apparent bid to rival Instagram, a service best known for its static-photo sharing feature. Instagram, of course, has expanded into video and stories itself, taking pieces of other services and incorporating them into its own product.

Instagram’s parent company Meta’s other services are frequent borrowers as well. As is nearly every social service you can imagine. Recall that great Stories Boom that led to everyone from Line to Spotify to Instagram to LinkedIn trying out the popular sharing format. If it works for one social media service, expect the rest to follow in some manner at some point — probably sooner rather than later.

There’s good logic behind the effort. The answer is why X wants to become a superapp; the more a service can offer its userbase to do, the more time they may spend inside the app’s walls. Expanding a feature set can bolster engaged time, and therefore how much revenue a social media service can earn. At the same time, bloat is a real issue that can dilute a user experience and render an app, well, Facebook in time.

This theme — the slow commodification of digital services via sameification — is similar to why we’re seeing LinkedIn try to ape the New York Times’ gaming might, and to some degree why major platform companies in tech wind up trying to be good at everything: the never-ending need to grow revenue. Perhaps this is why your favorite app always feels more and more like an alien world as time passes. It will evolve away from what made it special, and unique, but because sticking to those guns is not the way to create a service that the maximum number of people will use. For that, you need to become Facebook.



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