Quarantine’s turned all of our lives upside-down. It’s also flipped our social media habits on their heads and impacted the way we use each platform.
Since I’m a Twitter and Instagram user, I’m going to stick to my observation about these platforms. Feel free to add your impressions / observations on any other platform.
Despite having the opportunity to write posts that are 280 characters long, most users on my timeline are shortening their posts to resemble the old 140 character version. There are some exceptions, of course. Based on anecdotal evidence aka what people are saying on my timeline, this could be the result of collective fatigue.
Fatigue about our current situation, fatigue about trying to find a balance as we Work From Home, and fatigue from quarantine life with children and our families (in the sense that it’s difficult to get some alone time or space and balance everyone’s needs).
This has affected me on a personal level to the point where I’ve become a passive consumer. I ‘Like’ content and engage with some retweets or comments but that’s where it stops. I’ve been struggling to come up with original content.
On the other hand, I’ve seen an explosion of threads. Knowledge-sharing, advice, observations, articles, and everything in between. The contrast is interesting.
It also seems as though people are shifting away from text to sharing more images, videos, GIFs etc.
Understandably, people use Twitter in whatever way they prefer but I’ve noticed that before the pandemic, the average tweet filled up the 280 character limit compared to today.
It’ll be interesting to see if this trend continues.
Instagram’s reputation has always been “image first”, which is understandable given that was (and for the most part still is) the app’s main purpose.
During the past couple of years, users have begun shifting to focusing on captions as well as the images that appear on their grids. This behaviour has accelerated since COVID-19 began and we all went into quarantine.
I’ve noticed that people’s captions have grown to the point where it feels like we’re reading blog posts, regardless of topic or intention.
Here are a couple of examples:
Elise Darma is an Instagram Marketer who regularly shares tips and insights to help those interested in upping their Instagram game or are looking for ways to enhance their presence to get leads and build a client base.
Blank Canvas Community is a indie organisation based in the UAE that focuses on bringing local communities together through art. They also collaborate with local musicians, poets, and others within the arts and culture community.
Two vastly different niches, and yet, both connecting to their followers and people drawn to their accounts through focusing on storytelling and providing value through advice, highlighting collaborations, or providing information that’s relevant to anyone who reads their captions.
Twitter’s maintaining its purpose as a micro-blogging platform like tumblr back in its heyday while Instagram seems to be turning into a blogging platform – I wouldn’t be surprised if the next update would allow users to include clickable links in their captions. Users can already do that through the link in their bio, which many have expanded through third party services that allow them to add multiple links.
What do you think? Let me know in the comments!