With more sharing activity moving to DMs, and away from social feeds, Meta’s working to incorporate more elements to capitalize on this shift, and ensure that it remains the leading platform for person-to-person engagement.
Its latest experiment on this front is a new post sharing option on Instagram that would enable users to spark a private discussion based on a post, via a ‘collaborative collection’ that any chat user can then add posts to.
As you can see in this example, shared by app research Pururaj Dutta, Collaborative Collections would be a new way to focus engagement around posts, as opposed to sharing to a single person or copying a link.
That could make it a little easier to kick off a chat around a trending post, and for friends to add other posts into the mix, feeding into DM engagement.
Which, again, is where social activity is headed. Back in January, an internal report from Meta showed that while time spent on Facebook is increasing, sharing of original posts on both FB and Instagram is in decline, which represents a significant change in the way people use social apps.
It used to be that people would post status updates and links to their main feed, in order to share their thoughts on a topic, but as more division and angst has fed into the comments, more users have become increasingly reluctant to share such, in case they end up offending someone and sparking disagreement.
That then leaves social platforms as a discovery surface, where users go to get big life updates from friends and family, but also, to find the latest trending content, increasingly via short-form video clips. They then share that content into private DMs – so people are still sharing and engaging in social apps, the ‘social’ element of ‘social media’, but they’re not doing so in public as much as they once were.
Meta’s added various new elements to enhance this element, including messaging ‘Channels’ on Instagram, highlights of past shares in your IG Direct inbox, and the reintegration of Messenger into the main Facebook app.
Meta sees this as an area where it can win out, and remain a critical interactive element, even as TikTok steals attention away – because while TikTok may be more popular for entertainment, it doesn’t have your social graph, which remains Meta’s strength.
It’s just not the critical factor that it once was for social app success, because entertainment is indeed now a bigger lure than seeing the latest from your friends.
But discussing that content with your friends remains key, and if Meta can keep building on this, it can maintain its position as the leader in messaging, which could also open up new opportunities for brands.
That’s become a much bigger focus for the app, which is where this new element fits in.