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Social Media Sites Are Metaphorical Aquariums

posted by Jason Kottke Feb 08, 2024

I loved reading Elizabeth Lopatto’s stab at a “unified taxonomy of text-based social media”.

The successful social media network is an aquarium. The influencers and posters are the denizens — jellyfish, filter feeders, sharks, octopuses, rays, squid, clownfish, and so on. The lurkers are the visitors, marveling at the shape and color of the aquarium’s denizens.

Lopatto was spurred to post because she feels that Threads is too much gift shop:

Threads is also unbalanced as an ecosystem, skewed toward Brands, a particularly noxious infraclass of influencer that is nonetheless profitable for the network. But for Threads to be valuable to Brands — more valuable than, say, TikTok — there needs to be a strong base of lurkers. Most lurkers will tolerate Brands, but Brands themselves aren’t a draw. They’re just the gift shop at the aquarium.

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