Think Social Media Is A Passing Fad? Think Again.

By on May 7, 2014
"Skull Disco Ball" by Kyleigh Pitcher


These are the numbers that matter.

Each number above represents Monthly Active Users worldwide for the most popular social media platforms in the United States (with the exclusion of Snapchat as they have never released the official number of users).

In terms of the sheer number and volume of users, can you think of any fad that ever stacked up in comparison – let alone on a global movement?

Think Social Media Is A Passing Fad? Think Again.

Social Media Fad

A fad is a short-term event. A “flash in the pan.”

Social media, on the other hand, is not a fad: It is a trend… and it’s here to stay.

The major difference between a fad and a trend is the duration of popularity and the number of industries that it affects.

Social Media Fad

A fad tends to stay in a single industry vertical.

A trend, however, tends to crossover into numerous industry verticals.

  • Think: Smartphones crossing over into the worlds of photography, music, fitness, and even fashion.

As the definition pictured above states: A fad is short-lived and without basis in the object’s qualities.

The second part of this statement needs to be emphasized further: A fad has little to no basis in the object’s qualities.

A fad is an enigma. An anomaly. An outlier from the norm. Unexplainable.

Social media is none of those things… and here’s the reason why:

We now exist in a Sharing Economy.

Now, let’s put the pieces together.

Is social media a short-term event?

The roots of what we call social media today were planted during the early 2000’s and have grown exponentially since then – as evidenced by the “numbers that matter” in the opening statement.

Collectively, their user base extends to over 3 billion people and, again, these numbers don’t even tally all of the other social networks like WhatsApp (500 million users), Tumblr (184.9 million blogs), or any predominantly foreign social networks.

Barring a miraculous global crash of the internet and all of its servers, user growth will continue across all platforms as the world becomes more interconnected… before plateauing due to saturation.

Editor’s Note: There is also a continuing trend of social media users migrating to smaller circles and niche platforms. Something worth monitoring.

So over a decade later from the birthing of social media, can you rightly say that 10 years from today that 3+ billion people will have moved onto another “fad”?

Is social media a one-industry wonder?

This is a certainty: Social media has been one of the most disruptive forces in business in recent years.

It has completely changed the way News Media, PR, Marketing, Advertising, HR, and other departments have operated traditionally.

With the growth of the so-called “Internet of Things,” social media has jumpstarted the Sharing Economy across all types of industries and penetrated every form of business today.

Does social media offer intrinsic quality?

The answer to this final question is why I firmly believe that social media will not die a gruesome Beanie Baby style death anytime soon.

Social media is largely free for marketers and businesses to use, although time and resources are two factors that will impact the Return On Investment – particularly with the maturation of social networks and their need to please investors by monetizing their platforms through ads.

Social media allows for people to connect with friends, families, coworkers, new business opportunities, and even complete strangers who share similar interests halfway around the world.

What more, you ask?

Well, for one thing, social networking is creating a large network of trust and collaboration that didn’t exist before.

The graphic below represents a “Collaborative Economy Honeycomb” posted recently on Jeremiah Owyang’s blog.

Social Media Fad

Collaborative Economy Honeycomb by Jeremiah Owyang

“Jumpstarted” by social media, The Collaborative Economy is now enabling and empowering people to use the dynamic technologies available to them to Crowdfund, lend items and services Peer-to-Peer, and share valuable information with the world around them… and this new network of trust and sharing has been long overdue.

Still think social media is a fad?

Hopefully our arguments for social media’s staying power influenced your opinion on this subject. With social platforms maturing and getting more refined by the day, they will have a larger impact than we can think in the future.

If you still believe that social media is a passing fad – let us know the reasons why in the comments section below.

Ready to step your social media game up> Become a Certified Social Media Strategist®! Click here to learn more.

About David Ahn

David entered the business world as a marketing intern at NanoLumens – an Atlanta tech startup that provides unique digital LED signage. While interning for the company, he found a particular interest in content marketing, social media, and visual branding. After completing the internship, he began his professional career with iFusion Marketing working with Atlanta tech startups. In 2013, he joined SMMU as a blogger, copywriter, and social media manager. Connect with him on Twitter @Dav1dAhn.
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