The social media magpie effect

Korean magpie

The saying goes: “good artists borrow, great artists steal”, and this seems to be the case with social media platforms and Facebook. Every other day reports come in that the platform has updated its user experience with elements taken from other social media platforms.

It seems that the social media juggernaut is taking inspiration from an array of popular apps and platforms to strengthen its position amongst the competition. Just today Facebook announced a Twitter-like update to its service in a bid to be seen as a hub of real-time online conversations by giving various media partners the ability to tap into its “public feed” of all the Facebook posts which are made public by members. This comes as an extension to its experiments in testing a “trending” section, displaying the most popular topics on the network, and effectively jumping on the hashtag bandwagon just as Pinterest, Instagram and LinkedIn (for a brief time) did.

This is not the first time Facebook has incorporated features synonymous with Twitter to its services. For example, the verification of profiles and video apps had been a feature of Twitter long before they reached Facebook. However, it’s not just Twitter that Facebook has used as its muse. Last week the platform announced a new feature that this time mirrored LinkedIn, by adding a “Professional Skills” section to user accounts!

One can hardly blame Facebook for taking ideas that have proved to be successful. With the ever changing nature of social media it’s hard to know what features will be embraced by users and which will be neglected.

Although one can argue that Facebook is becoming notorious for pinching features from popular apps and services, it’s not just Facebook that is looking to other platforms for inspiration to improve its service. For example, MySpace incorporated some of the best aspects of other social platforms to produce its sleek new re-brand. Furthermore, Twitter took inspiration from Facebook’s newsfeed features with an Activity Streams section which displays information about the people you follow, such as who they have added to their network and what tweets they have engaged with.

Nowadays it is commonplace for websites to copy each other when a feature proves successful. Whilst adaptation is an essential part of keeping social media platforms relevant, one does wonder when this will lead to there being no unique features about social media platforms anymore?

© Yoo Chung “Picture of Korean magpie in Daejeon, South Korea near the Daejeon City Museum of Art. ” licensed under  Attribution-ShareAlike 2.5 Generic 

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