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 KAPITEL 04 / SOCIAL & NETWORKS

SOCIAL &

NETWORKS

PHOTOGRAPHER // MYRIAM BOULOS, MIDDLE EAST

PLATFORMS OF FORGETTING IN AN AGE OF FORGETFULNESS

The incredibly short attention spans of millions of Arab Millenni- als are keeping ‘live’ platforms like Snapchat and Instagram Sto- ries buzzing with raw, unpolished content. Evidently, in the Arab Millennial’s age of convenience and forgetfulness, bite-sized is quickly evolving from a mere 140 characters to a few crucial sec- onds of rich, albeit short-lived moving imagery. Bite-sized is also starting to shape their conversations, now confined to long threads of quick exchanges where friendships are either forged or

tainted by the ubiquitous ‘seen’ or ‘read’ functions in social media messaging.

Brands can best capitalise on this visual and ephemeral shift by engaging audiences with stimulating content that is easily shareable in bite-sized chunks via WhatsApp or private messaging, if at all. Consequently, brands would do well to reframe their concept of ‘so- cial proof’. For example, advertising through an ephemeral video on Snapchat or Instagram Stories means that users won’t see how many followers a brand account has, or how many of them are engaging with the content.

In theory, this is great for brands as it means they don’t need to focus on building followers and encouraging fluffy interactions such as ‘likes’ to legitimise their content. That has been a particular issue in the Middle East ever since the dawn of social media. Hopefully, this change might cause brands to focus more on how well the content itself is meeting its business objectives, rather than obsessing over vanity metrics that are now growing in- creasingly passé in an internet economy whose main trait seems to be one of forgetfulness.

AUTHOR // FRANCES BONIFACIO, STRATEGIC PLANNING DIRECTOR, SERVICEPLAN MIDDLE EAST