The Evolution of Social Media: Imitation vs. Innovation

TL;DR: Instead of innovating, social platforms resort to copying features from their competitors. This competitive approach won’t work, as users value social platforms for specific activities and for connecting with specific social circles.

There was a time when social platforms were drastically different and served particular purposes: Twitter to share what you’re thinking in the moment, Instagram for a visual glimpse at the amazing life you are living, Facebook to stay connected with friends and family, and Snapchat to post unedited, real-time content that you would only share with your inner circle.
 
Today, the leading social platforms are busy stealing unique features from each other in a race to become the one-stop shop for all of your social media needs. Feed ranking, stories, live video, ephemeral messages and content can now be found (with a few exceptions) on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat.
 
To help you grasp which features started where, take a look at who is “taking inspiration” from whom as platforms appear more and more alike:

Does this mean all of the platforms are now the same? No. However, that may be a less important question as users continue to use these social platforms for very specific reasons.

Make sure to check back in as we dive deeper into social media trends, platform features and user behavior to dissect what they mean for both marketers and consumers.