Atomic Units & Networks

May 3, 2022

The Building Blocks of Social Media, Past and Present.

In the ever-expanding realm of social media, each and every network has its own canonical unit of content at the core that helps define its unique character.

This fundamental unit of content helps to define the social norms and properties of the network and how users will eventually come to view it amongst all the possible places in which they can be sharing such content.

From time to time there is a blurring of these lines that occurs as the networks themselves shift focus to try and expand or demographics shift in a meaningful way, but for the most part these building blocks hold steady.

Once this core unit of content has been established it becomes almost synonymous with the network. For instance,

SnapChat owns The Selfie.

Instagram owns The Photo (of what you’re doing right now).

Facebook owns The Semi-private Photo (of you & your friends and family) and increasingly links to articles.

Youtube owns The Video.

WhatsApp & FB Messenger own The Text Message (and increasingly private photos).

Twitter owns The micro-text message and increasingly links to articles.

Giphy owns The Gif.

Periscope owns The LiveStream.

Slideshare owns The Slidedeck.

Etc.. Etc.. Etc..

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