Closed vs Open Socials… What is the future?

In today’s world, so much is social… and so much of that social is online. There is an ever-growing conversation about the importance of privacy on social media and the importance of it. With that being said, closed socials tools, such as private Facebook groups, messaging apps and private pages have been popping up more and more. The outside public cannot see what is happening in these groups or on these pages, but for the people involved with the messages or group, it looks like a normal social outlet. This is such a growing concept because the more digital our world gets, the more people are starting to value their privacy.

Social media consumers have notably started to make that shift to closed social channels. Whether it be those closed messaging apps like Whats App, Facebook messenger or others, the consumers feel more safe and secure in their content. While open socials will always be popular for some, a large portion of consumers do not wish to broadcast their lives for the world to see. Take Instagram for example. Many people in the Gen-Z and Millennial Generations have a public Instagram. They post pictures of themselves doing things from eating lunch to going skydiving with friends. But, for most, they post the persona that they want the world to see of them. Being in between these two generations, I know this to be true for many people my age. However, with this being said, a know many people, including myself, create small closed social profiles for only a select few to follow and view the content of. The slang term for it is ‘finsta’. They are accounts where people post whatever they want, say whatever they want and only broadcast it to a small select group of their close personal friends. This is the version of closed social tools I see younger generations using more than anything.

In addition to things like finsta’s, those who use Facebook tend to be a part of closed Facebook groups. The content posted on this page is obviously very targeted to those who join the page. The pages always have admin’s and people can be kicked out of the group at any point if they violate the rules and terms put in place by the admins. This type of space often times creates a more safe sense for the consumers of the content. They feel free to interact and say what they feel about a subject without being judged by their every day followers.
Lastly, one great private social tool that is making a big wave is messaging apps. The are extremely timely and quick. You can get to a person without having their phone number instantly through messaging apps. This provides quick and easy communication between people. This is huge for regular consumers, but largely for large brands and their ability to talk one on one with consumers and customers.
While I do think that open social platforms will be around for the long haul, I do think that closed socials will continue to grow and become more normal. With privacy becoming more and more evident in today’s society, I wouldn’t be surprised if the popularity of closed channels continues to grow.

UNC Alum, Currenlty in UF Masters Program