Alexis Ohanian said at Business Insider's IGNITION conference we've hit 'peak social' — and that's bad news for Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
- Reddit cofounder Alexis Ohanian said at Business Insider's IGNITION conference on Monday that we've hit "peak social" — and that's bad news for Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
- Ohanian predicted that users will move away from the big social networks toward new, more community-focused platforms.
- He named Telegram and Discord as the two main players at the moment.
Reddit cofounder Alexis Ohanian has got bad news for Facebook, Twitter, and other social networks.
Speaking at Business Insider's IGNITION conference on Monday, Ohanian — who is also a cofounder at VC fund Initialized Capital — said he believes that the tech industry has hit "peak social," and that users will migrate away from social networks.
Business Insider's US editor-in-chief Alyson Shontell asked whether platforms like Reddit and Facebook, which together have billions of users, are now facing crisis. "Are the days of these big companies done?" Shontell asked.
"I really believe that we've hit ... peak social, where the platforms that are one too many, where we follow individuals, have really, in a lot of ways, run their course, and we've reached the ceiling," he said.
When asked whether he was referring to Twitter, Ohanian said: "All of them. Social media as we know it, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, all these."
Ohanian later took a swipe at the professional networking site LinkedIn: "LinkedIn is not a home; LinkedIn is just sort of a box that you check."
Some platforms he name-checked are still growing rapidly. Facebook's monthly users were up 10%, to nearly 2.3 billion, in Q3, while Instagram recently hit 1 billion users. Twitter's monthly users are down, however.
Ohanian: Social-media users crave community
Instead of social networks, Ohanian said people increasingly want to belong to a smaller community of those who are like-minded.
"What people seem to be clamoring for more and more now is community, and so whether that goes to private group chats — like your WhatsApp group, your Signal group — or new platforms that have emerged," he said.
He believes that big social-media sites are seeing a backlash because people now feel like their voices are being drowned out.
"We're seeing this as a response to the fact that so much of social engagement is not about a sense of community; it's about a sense of playing to your tribe, your following. And if you don't have a following, you don't really have a voice," he said.
Ohanian added that Reddit was "ahead of the game" in creating smaller communities online, but added that it is still too ubiquitous. He predicted that new platforms would spring up to cater to particular interest groups, such as a home for fans of "#Girlboss" author Sophia Amoruso.
"I think we're going to see this vulcanization where more of these communities will start to go back and move to everything, from even Facebook groups or subreddits, to entirely new platforms that are getting built," he said.
Ohanian said at the moment Telegram and Discord are the two biggest examples of these new, more tailored platforms. Telegram is an encrypted-messaging app, and Discord is a chat app aimed at gamers.
You can watch Alexis Ohanian talk about hitting "peak social" at IGNITION here: