You Say You Want an Evolution: Social Media Channels Continue to Change

Over the past several weeks, a number of social media channels – namely Twitter, Facebook and Google + – have made significant changes to the way users interact with and publish content.

On November 7, Google+, Google’s own social media channel, launched brand pages. This feature allows organizations businesses, organizations and all other non-individual entities to create a page on Google+. While this may seem like yet another channel that requires your attention, this move has been interpreted as a game-changer. Why? As of last week, Google+ brand pages began showing up in search results. In an effort to play fair with other search engines, Google is downplaying the news. But in an environment in which search results are still vital, this is big news.

In early December, Twitter launched a major redesign which includes a number of new features designed to increase user engagement. Primarily, Twitter’s new @Connect and #Discover navigation options give users a greater opportunity to publish and consume content in a more streamlined manner. The inclusion of brand pages is also worth noting. You can learn more about the new Twitter here.

The following week, Facebook rolled out its Timeline feature to its entire user base. As you’d expect, Timeline places all of your Facebook content – status updates, photos and other materials – in a vertically linear format. While this feature hasn’t been expanded to Facebook pages for brands and organizations, its implementation is intended to increase user engagement.

What’s the takeaway here? Social media channels will continue to evolve in order to keep us tuned in – and rightfully so. Channels such as MySpace, which failed to evolve over time, have fallen by the wayside. While social media channels wouldn’t be in existence for another 200- plus years, Benjamin Franklin must have seen this evolution coming when he said, “When you’re finished changing, you’re finished.”

Andrew Gregory is the director of multimedia at Corning Place Communications, an Albany-based firm specializing in media relations, strategic communications, public affairs and social media and emerging digital opportunities.