If you need a clue as to where social media is going, spend some time on Snapchat. An early pioneer of disappearing Stories, it’s now primarily used by young people to message privately with small groups of friends. Those messages quickly disappear, too.
It turns out ephemerality, the fancy name for technology that deletes itself, has staying power. This week, TikTok joined the parade of social networks, including Instagram, YouTube and LinkedIn, that have rolled out disappearing features. WhatsApp also announced this week that users can send photos and videos that disappear from conversations after they’ve been opened.
The widespread embrace of disappearing posts may seem like bad news for social media creators who seek to gain followers and sponsors from their digital imprint. But creators have embraced Instagram Stories as a way to show fans less filtered scenes from their everyday life. It’s much less effort for creators to post a Story than to take hours to produce and edit a longer video. Plus, they can entice fans with the powerful allure of FOMO: tune in before this post expires.