The way forward for social media is vertical

Discussions about what the way forward for social media would possibly seem like have change into more and more frequent over the past yr. Elon Musk’s acquisition — and gutting — of Twitter, a slew of recent social media startups, and Meta’s launch of Threads have made it clear that the subsequent 5 years gained’t seem like the final.

However nobody truly is aware of what social media will seem like 5 years from now. Many startups like Mastodon, Bluesky, Spill, and enormous legacy gamers like Meta seem to suppose that there shall be a brand new catch-all platform that can seize folks’s consideration in the best way that Twitter and Fb did — and are constructing to that finish. However will everybody merely transfer to a platform solely completely different in identify to proceed the identical cycle? I’m not so positive.

At TechCrunch’s Disrupt convention just a few weeks in the past, I caught up with an investor who focuses on social media startups. We obtained to speaking about what them most, they usually stated they had been extra excited by area of interest, verticalized entities that focused a selected demographic or a interest than by startups seeking to construct giant platforms. They suppose a platform with a tighter focus can have extra potential as a result of it permits for sturdy communities to be constructed.

Lex, a social app aimed on the LGBTQIA+ communities, looks as if an ideal instance of this. The startup simply raised a $5.6 million seed spherical and appears to behave as a digitized model of classic lesbian personals, my colleague Harri Weber wrote. Lex permits its customers to seek out buddies, roommates or occasions, all rooted within the queer area.

“At three years previous, Lex doesn’t seem like the subsequent Reddit, Tinder or Twitter, though its scope grows as extra of us publicly establish as LGBTQIA+,” she wrote.

Startups like Lex make lots of sense. If you’re becoming a member of giant social platforms like Threads or Twitter to discover a particular neighborhood, it’s undoubtedly rather a lot simpler to only be part of a platform that’s already centered on and curating content material for that neighborhood or curiosity. Why would somebody from a marginalized group scroll by means of irrelevant content material, hate and bots to seek out their neighborhood when there’s already a devoted area elsewhere?

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