People have been searching and striving for authenticity on social media for years. Now, that drive is stronger than ever. People want to see the real person behind the photos, tweets, videos, etc–and that doesn’t just include influencers, that includes brands as well.
“People are attracted to people and businesses that are authentic. The more you show up, the more your audience will trust you. Having loyal customers takes trust.” – Like A Voss
In 2022, authenticity is important to everyone! Let’s check out why:
The Popularity of Stories
Social media ‘stories’ began with Snapchat in 2013, then grew in popularity through Instagram stories. Now, almost every social media platform has its version of a story, even Tik Tok. The love of stories hasn’t stopped growing since.
Stories on social media provide a tool for people to share more content more often and content that is less curated and more casual, making it the perfect place for people to get a taste of authenticity. They’re impermanent, making users feel freer to share what they want. It doesn’t have to be relevant forever, it just has to be relevant to you. It’s the perfect place to share day-to-day moments–a place to share your life with your audience.
Their impermanence creates a sense of freedom and allows people to feel more comfortable sharing. Before, it was harder to be authentic. You’d think back on those cringy photos from high school you posted on Facebook ten years ago that can still be found. Now, for any new, casual content, that doesn’t have to be the case.
“Over the past couple years, we’ve already seen a distinct shift toward authenticity in content – but stories, with its “snap and send” publishing method (i.e. minimal editing), adds another layer to this desire for real-time, behind-the-scenes views.” – Ethos
The Rise of Live Streaming
For years, YouTubers have been the biggest stars in the social media influencer world. Still, with the rising desire for authenticity, Streamers have grown in popularity – and many of them have reached the influencer status that YouTubers once singularly possessed.
Streamers are people that create live content on platforms such as Twitch and YouTube Live. The interactive and authentic nature of live content has been something people have really clung to over the past couple of years as platforms like Twitch have grown. Audiences can chat with their favourite streamers in real-time and these streamers, in turn, talk to them knowing fully well that whatever they say can not be edited out, that it’s being heard here and now.
Live streaming started really rising in popularity in 2020 when the pandemic lockdowns began. With people in isolation, the closest they could get to interact with real people was through watching Streamers. However, even though restrictions have been lifted, streaming has cemented its place in online media, and is still growing in popularity. The pandemic made people realize how much they enjoyed this level of authenticity, and that they want more.
The Beginnings of BeReal
One of the most recent developments in the world of social media platforms has been BeReal. BeReal is a new social media platform that prompts users to take a photo with their front and back facing camera at a random time of day within a certain time frame every single day. You don’t know when you’ll get the notification to take your daily photo and therefore can’t stage what you’re doing. It seems simple, yet BeReal has become an internet phenomenon. It’s so popular that TikTok has recently launched its own, similar feature called TikTok Now.
This platform has risen in popularity so quickly almost solely due to humanity’s desire for authenticity on social media. As of right now, it’s likely the closest a social media platform is getting to creating completely authentic content from all its users and all it is is a photo! That in itself and the platform’s popularity proves just how much people crave authenticity.
“I think when we talk about authenticity on social media, what people usually mean is that you’re being unedited, you’re being unfiltered, you’re showing some version of reality as you’re experiencing it. And BeReal is capitalizing on this desire that consumers and users of social media have to see what real life looks like, both for influencers and for people that they know.” – Erica Bailey
Every year, the drive for authenticity on social media grows. At this point, being authentic is needed for success online. Although it’s nearly impossible for people to be truly authentic all the time on social media, getting as close as you can is what the people want!
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