Did you know that in 2021, 2.5 quintillion bytes of data were created every day? I can't even fathom what that number is today. We are in the age of data, and the consumption rate is only going to increase.
We would all agree that social media is one of the major contributors to this increase in data usage. Just to put this in perspective, about 41,666,667 million messages are sent on WhatsApp, and 347,222 stories are being posted on Instagram every minute; I have not even considered data from Facebook, Youtube, and many other mediums. Yes, that's how much time we spend on social media, and now you probably understand where all your time went.
But have you noticed that most of the content on Instagram, Facebook, and YouTube is repetitive? Have you noticed that we are following the herd and thus losing our uniqueness? The content is mostly a rehash of what worked for someone else; consider a reel; you've probably seen Christian Kesniel's video for the seashanty song. He became world-famous overnight, and the new trend began. All of a sudden, everyone was dancing their way to Seashanty; it seemed like everyone was obsessed with this song, but in reality, everyone just wanted their reel to get some engagement, and in the process of attaining this, they just followed the herd and lost their originality.
One of the primary reasons for this is the way social media algorithms work. Consider Instagram. They have this complex yet easy-to-understand formula; the reels that a user can see in the reels tab and explore tab are based on factors like relationship with the user, relevance, prominence, and timeliness.
Your relationship with the user who created it is important; the algorithm analyses if you talk to this user, comment, like, or view something. The relevance part is the use of hashtags and the content you watch and engage with, and Instagram likes new content and prefers it over the old content.
To further simplify the above, take a topic that is hot on Instagram and replicate it—I mean, use the same audio or copy the steps but add your own style to it. Your reels will gather some views, even more than the usual ones. But the question remains: where is the original content? I agree that there are people who are creating very unique reels, but the numbers are few here.
The same is true for websites and other forms of social media, and I can't help but wonder if this has hampered our thinking, if we've become a herd of animals, and if we still have the freedom to think outside the box. These appear to be some of the questions that we will have to ask ourselves when creating new content. With users asking for fresh and new content, are we ready to deliver new and fresh content without the following someone?
In my opinion, this current trend will not last for long, but original content will. You might not be gaining that additional engagement now, but you will have longevity. The best is to mix it up a little. Follow the trend, but ensure you have more content that you own and are true to.
Charles Prabhu is a Customer Success Manager at Chimera Technologies. His hobbies are photography, traveling, and blogging.