Social media is successful for one very simple reason; it gives humans more creative ways to display a celebration of their favourite topic - themselves.
It’s 100% selfish and therefore 100% pleasurable. In fact, on average, people spend 60% of conversations talking about themselves
and the figure jumps to 80% when communicating via social media.
In a world with the ability to search anything and brimming with ideas to discover, develop and discuss, why do people spend the majority of their time talking about themselves? Recent research
suggests a simple explanation: because it feels good.
And how did we get here?
People born after the late 80s will never know the horror of calling up their crush and having to introduce themselves to the mother or father first, and for good reason.
The evolution of one-on-one communication seemed to take a sharp detour when we went from phone calls to texting. It took out a lot of the emotion and made people incredibly brave, but left room for confusion. Enter emojis.
Humans process visuals 60 000 times faster than text
, so when we communicate, a lot of what we understand is not through words, but through the small visual cues of body language. Emojis allowed people to better express their feelings but it still wasn’t personal enough. Enter Snapchat.
Part of the reason tools like Snapchat and, more recently, TikTok have become super popular is because they enable a hyper-real, hyper-controllable, visual way to quickly and easily express ourselves and our feelings to our friends.
Oddly, people feel less comfortable with live video, this is likely because they have less sense of control (i.e. there are no retakes or filters). Human communication is an intricate thing, and we’re overcoming the vast distances between ourselves (geographically and emotionally) with technology. There will be new social media all the time, but the successful ones will likely offer a hyper-augmented, visually driven
, celebration of self.