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West Side Story

The student news source of Iowa City West High

West Side Story

The student news source of Iowa City West High

West Side Story

Timeless vs. trendy

Walk through social media apps that have seen popularity over the years, and what makes one trendy versus what makes one timeless.

While a wide variety of social media apps have risen in fame ever since the start of the internet, only a few of them have strived since, and others, although they have made an impact on users, just don’t have that aspect that makes an app timeless.

BeReal

After being released in the year 2020, the app BeReal took off two years later in 2022. The app notifies users at different times of the day to take a photo with their front and back camera, encouraging users to be more “authentic.” According to Social Media Today, the app was at ten million daily users by the end of August 2022.

Although the app appeared to be doing great, for some authenticity seemed to be only interesting for so long. In March of 2023, it went down to less than six million daily users, dropping 61%, as Dazed reported.

Surprisingly, as the Santa Cruz Works reports, the app has gone up to 25 million users in January 2024, which is a huge jump from where it was in March. It seems that the disruptive notification has kept users active throughout the years, making BeReal not just a trendy app. 

TikTok

Tiktok, formally known as Musically when it came out in August 2014, became known for its lip-syncing and dance videos made by other people around the world. In August 2018, Musically formed the app that we all know today, Tiktok, which is more known for its retable comedy and dance videos.

By the end of 2021, TikTok hit one billion active monthly users and has been increasing ever since as BackLinko reports. What makes TikTok such an addicting and popular app even six years later Is its ability to allow people to scroll through a never-ending cycle of entertainment that is tailored specifically to users.

Instagram 

Instagram is one of the oldest apps in the social media world; it launched in 2010 and has been thriving since. While many other apps as old as Instagram have lost their popularity, Instagram has been able to maintain its users and keep growing.

As the years go by, Instagram has done things to adapt to its users, like adding Instagram Reels, which were created to mimic TikTok’s never-ending scroll through entertainment. Reels were not so popular at first, but ever since late 2023, views on Reels have been up 86% as Emplifi finds.

The last major change Instagram made was adding Threads, which works like Twitter, but to use it one has to download a separate app, making the idea of it not so appealing. Despite that, Threads is starting to see a rise in popularity; not only that, it was named the fastest-growing social media platform in history, according to DemandSage.

What makes Instagram such a timeless app is its ability to adapt to its users. Although at first its updates may not seem so appealing, and off-brand of the original, the app finds ways to make it interesting and to get its users to interact with these new add-ons. 

Lapse

Originally released in 2021, Lapse was relaunched in the summer of 2023 and as of October 2023, CNET reports it was ranked number 2 in Apple stores.

This app is known for mimicking digital photos, allowing users to take a photo using their phone’s camera and waiting for it to be developed, giving it that digital photo effect. As the months go by, Lapse has started to lose its popularity as people have become too impatient to wait for a photo they can make just by adding a filter.

Only a month after its extreme popularity in November, its downloads dropped last week to 44,738 per day this past week, down more than 70% from its peak according to TechCrunch

MySpace

MySpace was once a social platform that dominated the internet but saw a significant decline in popularity in the 2000s. This was mainly because its users started to shift to Facebook.

While MySpace has many of the same features as Facebook, it was less user-friendly, ultimately resulting in its decline. Although MySpace is still active today with six million users as TechReport finds, this is a significant decline from the 29 billion users in 2006.

What gave MySpace such a hard time maintaining popularity was its inability to adapt to its users, which is a trend among most other apps that lose their spark.

The difference between trendy and timeless social media apps is their ability to adapt to evolving user preferences and cultural shifts. While trendy apps can leverage current trends allowing, them to gain rapid popularity, their success can be very short-term as trends change. Timeless apps, on the other hand, can defy the test of time by adapting strategically and providing value to the social world that is beyond trends.

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About the Contributors
Minna Abdalla, Assistant Sports Editor
(she/her) Minna is a sophomore at West High and this is her first year on staff. Her job title on staff is assistant sports editor. In her free time she likes to go bike rides, play soccer and hang out with her friends.
Neema Ash, FOJ Intern
Neema is super excited to be an intern this year on staff. She is a junior this year.
Donate to West Side Story
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