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08
May

Are all social media platforms looking the same?

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Image via: Blurr Creative PR

For those who mightn’t have noticed, Twitter has recently unveiled a new design.

Or has it? It’s hard to tell. Allow us to explain.

Twitter’s redesign introduces larger cover photos and profile pictures, as well as pinned, best and filtered tweets on your profile feed. Some tweets (for example, ones with pictures) are automatically highlighted beyond your control.

Twitter says this’ll make it easier to express yourself, and see the tweets that matter to you. On the other hand, we can’t help but notice that this redesign seems to mirror another platform we know and love – Facebook.

This, as Facebook has curiously reverted to a single column profile feed, as opposed to the two-column timeline implemented not that long ago. Combine with Twitter’s picture preview tweets and the lines between the two are blurred even more.

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Twitter’s new design. Image via: Business Insider

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Facebook’s layout. Image via: Daily Mail

Which begs the question – why are social media platforms becoming (at least ostensibly) harder and harder to spot the differences between?

This isn’t a tale exclusive to Twitter. It seems all social media platforms are naturally lent toward standardisation.

Take Snapchat for example, which recently spooked Facebook by turning down their generous $3b offer. Last week, Snapchat haunted Facebook some more with a pretty pointed message – namely, “We can monetise our own platform, thank you” – as they implemented both text and video messaging.

This means Snapchat is now competing directly with Facebook Messenger and Facebook’s compensatory purchase, WhatsApp. It’s a very smart move.

But it’s also why you can expect to see social platforms standardise over time. The more popular a platform becomes, the further it strays from its original functionality to appeal to a mass market. This is our take out.

Standardisation, especially when it comes to social media, is a fate secured alongside popularity. And so, at least for the foreseeable future, it seems one tale will continue to be told: With enough new users come new features.

Well… at least the same features we’ve seen a million times before.

By Mark Starmach