Where Social Media Is Headed in 2017: The Biggest Trends to Watch For

What does the future look like for social media?

That’s a question we regularly discuss here at Buffer and one we’re not quite sure anyone has a concrete answer to. However, there are some clues out there as to what the future in 2017, and beyond, may look like.

As part of our State of Social Media week, it feels like a great time to sit back and reflect on the social media landscape and what may be ahead. So let’s take a look at some of social media’s biggest platforms (Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, and Twitter) and discuss where they’re heading and what trends to look out for in 2017.

Ready to jump in?


The standardization of platforms

Before we jump into each platform individually, I first wanted to touch on something that’s been a trend throughout the year.

2016 has been a period of consolidation for many of the biggest social media platforms out there. It seems that most products launch in a niche, with a unique perspective or angle, and then once they begin to hit critical mass, they start to blend into one another.

Let me explain…

Until the launch of Memories, Snapchat had always been about unpolished, in-the-moment content. Instagram was always the place for us to share only our best images and videos until they opened up Stories and encouraged users to share more Snapchat-like content.

The blur between Snapchat and Instagram isn’t the only case of platform consolidation we’ve seen in 2016 either. For example:

In 2017, I believe we’ll likely see more of this trend with every the major platform battling it out to become the go-to place for short, snackable and in-the-moment content. And by the end of 2017, we’ll likely see most of the major platforms enabling users to:

  • Create and share video content
  • Create and share live video content
  • Discover news and what’s going on around them (based on location)

What’s coming next for the biggest social media platforms? 15 trends to watch out for

In 2016 we’ve seen some fairly huge changes to the biggest social media platforms out there, and below we’ll break down the year’s biggest feature releases and acquisitions for 2016 and provide three predictions on what trends to watch in 2017.

Below are some quick links to jump to your favorite platform:

A handy guide to navigating what’s coming up next in the social media world.


2016 has been another record-setting year for Facebook. In their latest earnings report, the Menlo Park-based company shared that it earned $7.01 billion in revenue during Q3 2016 and now has 1.79 billion monthly users (up 16% from Q3 2015).

Here’re some highlights from Facebook’s 2016:

Significant launches

<img src="http://s.w.org/images/core/emoji/2/72×72/1f3ea.png&quot; alt="


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