What Even Is a Social Network Anymore?


“LinkedIn Is Cool Now,” Businessweek announced This week. According to this it is also a dating app hypebe, oh, and dating apps are for networking, wall street journal They say.

In case you couldn’t tell, the social network is having a bit of an identity crisis.

Facebook, once the center of the platform world, has somehow become the place I go to sell my old furniture. (If you live in the New York area, I’m trying to land a really nice desk. Moving is expensive!) As I noted in last week’s newsletter, the use of TikTok as a search engine is booming. being done since. And Twitter is, well, X. I find myself using it less and less with each passing day.

It doesn’t help that the platform game’s name has been shameless copying for years now. Snapchat stories are the authentic example, served up so effectively by Instagram that it’s easy to forget where the idea came from in the first place.

More recently, Spotify is veering towards TikTok-style vertical video, and TikTok is starting it own subscription music service To compete with Spotify. Meta, as you probably know, created an entire clone platform, Threads, to feast on the Elon Musk Twitter post-influence. (Remember BlueSky too?) Musk, for his part, plans to turn the X into a “everything appFor messaging, finance and beyond.

It’s certainly not the first person or company with that goal. The tech industry, it seems, believes there’s a widespread appetite for a platform that does it all — the best and most useful parts of the social network and other apps we toggle between constantly every day.

For me, this magical Turdcane app brings me the algorithmic power of TikTok to serve up hyper-specific videos, the dopamine rush of getting likes on Instagram, the former ease of using Facebook to invite your friends to a party, the weirdness of old Tumblr and To be honest, LinkedIn is just what it is. Oh, Venmo too – but everyone’s transactions have to be public so I can follow them,

However, the point is that we, the users, are already engineering all of our own apps by inventing and retrofitting additional uses for existing platforms. This way you make LinkedIn act like a dating app. Or, conversely, dating apps are becoming a great place to network.

All apps are everything apps. We have created them ourselves.

Here’s what else is happening online this week.

In the week following the Women’s World Cup, soccer fans doggedly tagged Nike on social media — not exactly the way the company expected.

Fans were upset that Nike failed to offer a replica jersey for Mary Earps, the English player who was recognized as the best goalkeeper of the tournament. One fan said, “She’s in the FIFA Women’s World Cup final and we can’t buy her jersey.” written on x, “Absolutely insane.”

Nike did not issue goalkeeper jerseys for any of the 13 teams it sponsored at the tournament, including England. But just as Earps emerged as one of the tournament’s standout players, the uproar led to a motion in the British Parliament and several scathing comments by Earps himself.

The online pressure may have paid off. On Wednesday evening, a Nike spokesperson told me and my colleague Elizabeth Patton that the company would release the jersey in “limited quantities.”

Fans seem elated by the news, but it may turn out to be bittersweet. When you go after a company online, the best-case scenario is that it will adjust course. Nike did it. Now, Earps fans must decide whether they still want to give money to the company they criticized last week.

,Kelly Holterman


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