Despite what we have seen as far as stagnation in social & anti-trust talks, there has already been a very strong, positive case of social network consolidation. Shared infrastructure, moderation, algorithms and data science. Full-stack platforms and paradigm leap investments.
What we are seeing with Facebook desperately squeezing the Instagram moneybag to conceal Facebook's growth collapse & usage decline feels like the first true case study of what can go wrong when consolidating digital culture properties. Facebook thinks they are too big to fail.
They still believe that Instagram was a diversification play, & are still under the impression that platforms in aggregate can fill each other's gaps. Maybe they're right — maybe these digital brands can act like CPG. Maybe the outlier can really support the pack. Just marketing?
As they encroach the anti-trust investigation, Instagram is now a 'Tide from Procter & Gamble'. Yet, the shift doesn't stop in the name: it extends deep into how the platform works, how they feel, and how they intersect w/ culture and communication.
Asbestos-laced Baby Powder isn't taking down Tylenol. When the Baby Powder was poisoned, that didn't mean changing the Tylenol molecule — it meant taking the line hit, and bunkering down for the lawsuits that would hit the bottom line. Tylenol would always have been fine.
I believe that Big Blue will take down the pack with it. Not because of the anti-trust investigation, but because of the preemptive action to weather it, and the long-bubbling cultural decline that has quietly and aggressively paralleled all that has dominated the headlines.
As the platforms grow closer, as they begin to share a backend and feature-set, and as each of Instagram's ingredients is borrowed to plug a gap and cook the blue numbers, I think it will be left as a bland, dead-eyed soup on the verge of cultural death. Tylenol v2, poisoned.
You can follow @_DanielSinclair.
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