What is it: An in-the-moment photo-sharing social media app, where, at a seemingly random time each day, users are prompted to take and post a photo of what’s happening, right then and there. The app gives you two minutes to post a photo, taken with both your front and back cameras, showing yourself, and what you’re seeing or doing. Whilst users can always post late, the app will tell on them, and they can’t see what their friends have posted until they do.
Why it’s one to watch: BeReal challenges the way Millennials were taught to use social media, where everything was required to look polished and perfect, and instead taps into Gen Z’s need for authenticity. It prompts users to post a single photo a day; an unfiltered, unedited, and uncurated moment.
Who should be scared: BeReal goes against everything Instagram built itself on. Instagram is where The Influencer as we know it began, and aesthetic inauthenticity was a ticket to notoriety. Instagram should be worried by the rapid takeup of BeReal in younger audiences. In January 2021, BeReal had 10,000 active daily users. By April 2022, that had grown by 29200% to 2.93 million daily active users. The excessive consumption of content, perfect photos, branded accounts, and curated feeds of the Instaworld are replaced by a single, authentic moment within BeReal.
What is it: Potentially, there will be two arms to TikTok Music. A creator platform called SoundOn, and a social platform called Resso.
SoundOn offers ways to help artists market their music on TikTok, whilst artists maintain 100% ownership of their music, and receive 100% of the royalties.
Resso is for listeners. It encourages users to connect to each other through a social streaming of music, by commenting on songs, gif or video reacting to their favourites, and sharing their playlists with friends.
Why it’s one (or two) to watch: TikTok already launches music careers. Olivia Rodrigo, The Kid LAROI, even Lil Nas X got their big breaks through the app. 63% of TikTok users say that they hear music that they’ve never heard before for the first time on the platform, with 75% of US users indicating they actively use TikTok to discover new artists and music. With a strong launch platform for artists, and an engaging streaming platform for listeners, TikTok’s jump to music should be taken seriously.
Who should be scared: Spotify took out iTunes years ago, and hasn’t truly been challenged for its reign over music listening since. Even Tidal music, despite being acquired by Jay-Z, and with the likes of Beyonce, Madonna, and Rihanna all owning stakes in it, couldn’t conquer the music-streaming giant. Traditionally, people hear a song on TikTok, then go to Spotify to listen to it. Imagine if they didn’t have to leave the TikTok platform to add a song to their playlist.
The potential for integration between TikTok video and TikTok music should have Spotify shaking. Rather than ‘Link in bio to Spotify’ TikTok could let people add songs from videos straight to their playlist, and keep scrolling. It has the potential to become an uninterrupted process for the discovery of music.
What is it: LinkedIn finally has a challenger, and one that’s not afraid to point that out. With a tagline proudly stating its “A new kind of professional network”, Polywork is a professional networking platform designed to showcase the roles, side gigs, passion projects, and skills of the hustle culture generation.
Why it’s one to watch: Whilst Polywork is only fresh out of test mode, it’s interesting to see someone making moves to shake up a space that’s been entirely dominated by LinkedIn. It’s a Gen Z friendly platform, with a clean design, an easy-to-use interface, and considered offerings, such as the Space Station, where it’s clearly outlined if people are open to being contacted, and if so, what they’re open to talking about. This streamlines the search for mentors, investors, or creative partners, compared to LinkedIn’s cold-message tactics trying to sell your designers the newest accounting software.
Who should be scared: The way we work has changed, and with it, the professional network has too. Where LinkedIn sits cosy in the corporate world, Polywork is designed for a younger, more flexible workforce. Over 50% of young adults aged 19-24 in the US have a LinkedIn account, but 96% of them rarely or never use it. The younger generations see LinkedIn as nothing more than a JobBoard, and will only log on when job hunting. They’re in and out – no networking, no reading the news feed, no connecting with others. LinkedIn is not their world, and their relationship with it is purely transactional. For a networking site like Polywork, that feels more accessible to them, to hit the market could change that relationship.
We never know how big new social medias are going to get. The apps and platforms we use right now are so deeply embedded in our lives, most of us cannot fathom what could possibly come next. But no dynasty can last forever. We learnt it with iTunes, with MySpace, and even with Vine. The next big thing will come along, and it’s important to determine if your brand belongs there. You can’t be across all the new apps at once. Instead, work out where your audience is and how you can best connect with them. After all, there’s a reason Denture Cleaner brands aren’t blowing up on TikTok.
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