Closed Groups – The Future of Social

Author: Gillian McMurray

The Facebook Group is nothing new. Spaces for like-minded people to come together and discuss specific topics have been around since social media’s earliest days. These groups have seen particular growth over the past year, however, becoming a vital part of social media users’ daily lives.

Snapchat was the first platform to capitalise entirely on closed-group sharing. Their goal was to be the space where people shared private messages, images and videos with close friends. The result? Massive success. The increasing publicity of an individual’s online presence revealed the need for such sharing.

Remember the early days of Facebook when the platform represented somewhat of a safe space – most interactions were with real people, many of them friends and family. It was a place to showcase yourself, your preferences, your personality. This sort of intimacy on social networks has been undone by their own success. Newsfeeds are overflowing with clickbait, fake news and advertising galore. Cue closed-group sharing popularity growth.

Since this shift, Facebook has become the space for sharing your public persona – a less authentic, more curated persona. Meanwhile, Snapchat became the space for the ‘real’ persona, where individuals feel more comfortable sharing intimate details about their daily lives because they are sharing with people they know and trust.

Closed-group social platforms enable a new behavior of sharing. By reducing the cognitive overhead of publicly posting, these companies are betting on users sharing more often. In other words – with less mental math deducting who will see your post, story, photo – the more (and more often) users will share.

Recent reports have indicated that Instagram is hopping on this closed-group social train by developing an app called Threads.

Threads is designed as a sister app to Instagram, and invites users to automatically share their location, speed and battery life, along with more typical text, photo and video messages with friends. (Does sharing your location or battery sound strange to you? Don’t forget, Snapchat introduced these features years ago).

The ultimate goal of Threads? Promote constant, automatic sharing between users and the people on their ‘close friends’ list on Instagram. Reportedly, you will even be able to opt into automatic sharing, and Threads will regularly update your status without you having to type or click anything at all.

So, for companies and brands who rely on social networks to reach customers, whether through advertising or organic, personalised interactions, closed-group sharing has been an important player in the massive decline of organic engagement and reach.

Does closed-group sharing point toward the future of social media in general? A means to recover and authenticity the trust that Facebook began with? And if so, what does this mean for branded pages striving to reach the vast online audience?

That’s where Seven Media, one of the top social media agencies in Dubai comes in, addressing challenges is our specialty. Get in touch, we’d love to hear your thoughts!