When Kylie Jenner and Kim Kardashian are starting to revolt, you know Instagram is getting into trouble. Indeed, declining interaction rates and attempts to mimic competitors don’t look good and many internet commenters contend the days of Instagram are numbered. However, this does not mean another platform will simply take over. In fact, Instagram’s problems point to a broader issue in social media: instead of having one dominant platform, driven by powerful scale and network effects, we expect social media to become more fragmented, with different platforms playing different roles and users switching freely between them.
Social-cultural drivers are causing this unbundling of social media. Commodification of the platform and isolation of the users seem to be the two current bottlenecks of Instagram. Therefore, other platforms such as TikTok and BeReal focus on authenticity and digital togetherness as core values. Many are skeptic the new platforms are up to this task, but each of these platforms appeals to users and their desires in its own way. For instance for Gen Zers who choose anonymity over fame. Among the other platforms, Instagram’s model of following celebrities and influencers, checking brand offers, and engaging in social commerce will also remain a viable market proposition. Consequently, instead of single dominant one-stop-shop social media platform, a more fragmented and unbundled social media landscape will arise in the years ahead.