Is Social Media too Similar?

Posted by Kendall Wenaas

Twitter has joined the video world. The social network launched a new feature on Monday, March 2 that allows users to post videos to their feed.


Photo by Slava Murava Kiss. No changes were made.

They’re a little late to the game–YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, and Vine have allowed their users to post videos for years. Twitter joining this trend has left some of us asking: will all social media networks eventually be the same?

That may seem a bit dramatic, but let’s look at Instagram. They initially were a photo-only app, but introduced video in June 2013. Unfortunately for them, it didn’t really take off. Blogs, Facebook, Pinterest, and Google Plus, all have added video publishing capabilities as well.

Social media networks seem to look at what does well for other networks, then find a way to implement them themselves. Business-wise this is smart: Find a money-making trend, and jump on it. Video is an especially smart trend to latch onto, due to the advertising possibilities.


Photo by fredcavazza. No changes were made.


But the draw for using different social media networks is that they have different features. If they start to become too similar, will users continue to use networks or just choose one?


7 responses to “Is Social Media too Similar?

  1. This is a really interesting issue! I think that although different social media networks may have the same features, the way that people use them is still different. For example, my twitter feed consists mostly of jokes that relate to college students. My Facebook feed consists of things that are more professional, such as important announcements and family photos. I think that although many social media networks are beginning to share many features, the way that people use each one is still unique – and this is true for my use of them as well.

  2. Molly Lamoureux

    Stephanie took the words right out of my mouth. Facebook is for keeping in touch with family, Twitter more so for keeping up with fluff news and jokes, Instagram for friends and celebrities, etc. And these purposes are interchangeable – but what I’m trying to say is that each person uses different social media sites for different reasons. I actually think that the implementation of videos on all of these websites increases their lifespan.

    Let’s face it – Twitter and Facebook aren’t going to be around forever. But with each new feature they introduce, they’re increasing a little bit of interest from uses, and therefore increasing lifespan. I think introducing video was a smart move on Twitter’s part, even though I don’t think I’ll ever use it.

  3. You bring up an excellent point here. Based on how I use social media, I think this video component was unnecessary for Twitter. Apps like Vine and Instagram have introduced video components over the years but, to be honest, I still go to YouTube for videos. I go to YouTube because I know it works and I know that’s a trusted place for people to post and share videos. Although I can see why apps would want to compete with others, I think people are inclined to stick with the sources they trust and will most likely not take advantage of an all-inclusive app.

  4. I liked what Molly was saying about different uses for each social media platform (Facebook is for keeping up with friends and family, etc.). I definitely do the same thing. What’s really interesting to me is that we assign a specific function to each platform, even though they are becoming eerily similar. I think that’s why few people will settle with just one form of social media, even if there are few differences. Logic (it’s more simple to use just one!) will rarely beat out the “it just feels right” mentality.

  5. This is an interesting topic, especially because Twitter had a very unique feature before they added pictures, and now that they have video, I’m assuming it will become even more different. Before photo attachments, Twitter’s business idea was simple: Keep it 140 characters or fewer. With the addition of photo attachments, users can now screenshot a long passage and attach it as an image, violating the “140 character limit.” With a video attachment, Twitter users could potentially get even more winded with their tweets. Does anyone know if they have a time limit on videos like they do with character counts?

  6. emily.vanschmus

    Beth, I had the same question! Instagram and Vine both limit their videos to around 6-10 seconds, is there a time limit on Twitter’s videos? I think that would be more fitting to their platform, whereas a longer video is more fitting to a platform like Facebook.

  7. I have to laugh when I hear of updates like these to social media networks. It’s true! They are almost all the same thing at this point. I don’t use Twitter a lot, so I’m neither for nor against this update. I would, however, like to see a little more innovation in the networks as a whole. I can’t imagine people were sitting around hoping Twitter would add video. It’s been done. Give me something new.

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