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Who ruined social media?

29 Apr 2016

Article by Jenny Sussin, Gartner research analyst

Someone asked me about Twitter’s stock price the other day to which I replied: I know nothing of stocks, but I’ll happily tell you who I think is ruining it for all of us. Let’s have some straight talk about who is ruining Facebook and Twitter.


Embarrassing parents ruined Facebook. Sorry, but they did.

Years back when people outside of colleges were granted access to Facebook, us college folk were more concerned about high school kids getting access to our “privilege.” I remember there being a Facebook group that was actually entitled, “Facebook is a college privilege, not a high school right,” or something of the sort.

I don’t know that any of us thought our parents might actually join Facebook, nor did we think they’d post our baby pictures on our birthday, or write novels on our pages singing our praises for the world to see…

Now, as a self-proclaimed adult, I think that all of that is actually adorable. Imagine the pride someone would need to have in knowing they helped raise a somewhat well-balanced human! However, when you’re somewhat between 14 and 20 you really don’t need the extra social anxiety that comes with people knowing that you took ballroom dance classes in middle school or dressed in matching outfits with your siblings.


Marketers ruined Twitter. Just for kicks, I pulled up my Twitter home feed as I write this and removing companies I follow from this count, 5 of the 10 PEOPLE I am following are self-promoting + another 1 of the 10 is an advertisement.

Perhaps it’s a reflection of who I follow, but I don’t think I am alone in seeing this type of continuous self-promotion in my Twitter home feed. Now mind you that as I say this I will undoubtedly post a link to this blog post on Twitter and LinkedIn…but it’s not the only thing I post. Some of the “marketers” out there have told me I am not using Twitter appropriately because I don’t solely post about work. GOOD RIDDANCE!

And now for the educational portion of this blog post…

Why does this matter? Well, ever wonder why “the kids” are moving toward applications like Snapchat or WhatsApp or any other mobile messenger? It’s to get away from their parents and companies and people who make Twitter the new Times Square with the amount of advertising being spewed. Luckily for Facebook, kids tend to grow out of the embarrassment of being praised and adored by their parents.

Article by Jenny Sussin, Gartner research analyst

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