Not trying to sound like those 'social media whisperers', but my take:
—Stories as the new Feed is a generational reset button for a whole new set of apps possible. Similar to what News Feed allowed (for a small window of time) for Zynga, etc.
—The dominant player (IG) is taking a 1st party approach (apps within stickers - like their polls, chats, q&a etc.) and dialing up ads/commerce while Snap is incubating a 3rd party platform with decent success (StoryKit, Yolo maintaining in the App Store, etc. and the still infantile games platform)
-Personal example: The IG Spotify integration feels neutered compared to their actual music sticker with lyrics/sound, etc. :)
—The long term fatigue over performative social media / success theater (followers, likes) in IG has opened up a desire/opportunity for more personal connections— a couple manifestations:
—People you know: (Close Friends in IG, multiple private stories in Snap, 'finstas' have been around for forever)
—Among people you know, interactions that are precious, personal, and considered. See Zenly as a leading indicator in Europe/Asia. Snap Map has a greenfield/bluesky opportunity to power things that many have tried and failed before (events, building the actual Sims, etc.)
—An aside: I believe the future of social will resemble The Sims. Tons of opportunity to transform a map experience into feeling like Starcraft/Warcraft and use it as a camera source/canvas (just as Twitch makes anyone in their bedroom entertaining because the game takes up the canvas).
—People you don't know but feel you know: TikTok capitalizes on an entirely different feeling and type of opportunity for an audience. I like the Musical.ly guy's comparison to colonies in America vs. being in Great Britain. IG is Britain and Tiktok (and formerly Musically) are colonies where there's new opportunities to express yourself differently and succeed. Lil Nas X has been charting no.1 since March (?) and can credit TikTok over IG purely. Some kids yesterday got paid a couple million each for winning a Fortnite tourney — that was probably 1% of how much the tourney actually made off of them & Marshmello had the largest concert in humanity on it this year.
—The early leading indicators around super long videos (10min+) on YT (tutorials, mukbang, asmr —proxies on intimacy) and Twitch (live co-presence that's safe / blinded) let you get intimate with someone without actually knowing them in real life. A little bit of Twitter's staying power has been that amongst a certain set of folks, because the likes are almost always at a lower magnitude compared to the most successful stage (IG), there's a lower bar to sharing more frequently. (Same thing fundamentally powering Stories)
——Second aside: Animoji, Bitmoji, are the kernel of big ideas: they are masks that let you be more expressive than texts but also lower the resolution of how much you're sharing about yourself. They also let you be more intimate with people you may not know well in your personal life. Filters/Lenses were step 1 in lowering the bar to share yourself.
—Another big opportunity is that they allow certain people to scale themselves ($$$). See Brud (@lilmiquela) or how Genies is signing artists to let them take sponsored posts without actually showing up/spending 1/10 of the time to do so.
—Macro: in general, amongst an older age set, the trend is towards digital health and awareness. "Time Spent" vs. "Time Well Spent". New brands and social-lite apps capitalize on this: not being an addict to a glass & silicon panel in your pocket that dominates your thoughts. Modern status and luxury is about having more time — and when you reflect in the mirror, feeling like you spent that time well. More time is most clearly demonstrated in being able to do whatever you want and that feeds back up into the overall success theater machine (which ain't going anywhere).
—Multiple folks are converging here and there's a heavy social signal/status component around all of them. Consumer health will be a next big playground of consumer social and it typically tends to make $$$ / be a business.
—For another day / a different tangent, I think D2C brand studios (Gin Lane, Red Antler, etc.) that pump out hits are the modern film/entertainment studios — and make way better margins on upfront capital required. From first principles: Roman found a modern way to brand doing the oldest commerce on the internet, Viagra pills, as a service to humans and make prescriptions via a chatbot HIPAA compliant.
—Peloton is the no. 2 NPS product after Tesla
—The restauranteur behind Catch is the person behind Rumble. JV before it was Barry's / Soul / etc. There'll always be something on the next curve.
Closing thought: success theater has always been the engine in consumer social, but it has profoundly new vectors in attention and intimacy.