Social media inception: a post within a post within a post

Working in the world of social media at Pure Visibility means that social platform coexistence is always on our mind.  Per usual with most things on the Internet, social media networks do not exist in separate silos.  The interactions and sharing that takes place between them is really quite remarkable and deserves further examination.

I stumbled across this interesting sample a while back: a screenshot of a Facebook post published on Instagram and uploaded to Imgur. Even the first commenter realizes how wildly interconnected this collaboration is (“We have to go deeper”). This social media “inception” is carried out with intent and has a variety of positive and negative implications.

Social equalization

The fact that anything posted online can be snapped and transferred elsewhere on the Internet bypasses the notion of “friends” and “connections” that big social platforms like Facebook rely heavily upon.  The example above illustrates this point perfectly – I have no idea who the Instagram or Facebook users in this post are, yet I have access to it through Imgur.  Access to content expands with each platform it’s reposted to and essentially “equalizes” the playing field to anyone with a social media account.

Social exposure

With accessibility to content comes mass exposure.  To use Imgur as an example again, one can often find a special type of post on the front page – Tumblr compilations.  It’s a collection of witty and amusing thoughts from across Tumblr that are grouped into one post and submitted to Imgur.  For many Imgurians, this is the only interaction they may have with Tumblr.  The level of exposure Tumblr receives is massively amplified as a result (even 100 posts later, this Tumblr compilation has received over half a million views).

Social filtration

What makes the content described above so prolific, though?  Posting any random picture or screenshot certainly won’t guarantee mass exposure.  The key is high-quality content, or emotionally charged material that attracts a wide audience.  The truly interesting content is often transferred across multiple platforms and filtered out from the general noise.  The filtration could happen in a variety of ways.  One example is as follows:

  • A whole network made up of millions of users post their thoughts, pictures and videos.
  • One individual sifts through the posts and feeds to find the buzz-worthy content to repost.
  • Users who find it enjoyable spread the love onward to different platforms.

Certain BuzzFeed lists operate on this model, including this one chronicling the clash between two celebrities through a series of tweets.  The author has taken the time to filter through their feeds to compile only the relevant tweets and build a dramatic story (which tends to be content gold on
social networks).  Users share this compilation across Facebook, Pinterest, Google+…and voila.

What can we learn from this?

The depth in which a post can be buried across platforms can be problematic for brands.  Anyone with access to the Internet can dig out controversial content posted years ago.  For example, coverage on DiGiorno Pizza’s insensitive #WhyIStayed tweet made in 2014 can easily be found on sites like YouTube.  As mentioned above, high quality content can reach vast audiences, so brands and influencers must do their research before contributing online.  Based on our experience over the past decade with these concepts, we know that there’s great opportunity to engage and be seen if executed correctly.