In this study Karen McIntyre discusses how
social media has evolved during 1969 and 2013 and how a change in competition
has lead to Niche sites and what effect this has on other social media sites. ‘Platforms started targeting niche populations-
a change that may support the future of social media as an industry supporting
complementary and niche theories of media evolution.'(Karen, 2014:5) Throughout
this reading the author discusses how as social media sites have got more
popular as other social media sites compete to gain a sense of this popularity
or compete to gain a niche audience.


As people’s social media use has risen this has
allowed for social media sites to cover a wide variety of different social
media sites and appeal to niche audiences as well as social media sites are made
to compete with big popular sites like Facebook. This has meant that social
media sites are created to target different populations. The internet has allowed people to communicate across different social
media sites, thanks to niche ideas people are not just communicating through Facebook
and email, they are now communicating through many different social media
sites, this has led to the idea of mass communication. (Karen,2014:6) states that ‘Some scholars view the rise of the internet as a game changer in the
history of mass communication.’ The idea of mass communication allows the development
of communication across media to evolve into what it is today.

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You can break down social media evolution into
four different theories. The displacement theory is when a newer media replaces
older media, functional equivalence is the idea of a newer media dominating an
older media. The complimentary theory is when a newer media supplements older
media, the other theory is the niche theory, this when the newer media
specializes, however approaches of this kind can carry limitations in how
social media can be conformed to a theory. ‘Many new forms of media complement
existing mediums rather than de-popularize them.’ (Karen, 2014:10) These media theories
allow social media evolution to be explained through simplistic theory and how
each new social media has a purpose.


Some social media sites have been created to
gain any attention they could and from this they would eventually build up and
gain an audience. However, this has since change and less social media sites
are being created unless they have a sense of purpose or are setting out to
gain own niche audience. (Karen,2014:11) has the approach that There has been a
shift in the evolution of social media and that initial social media platforms
had a “the more, the better” mentality.’ however this does not fully explain
the amount of different social media sites. Social medias evolution has seen a change
in how people few social media and how people use it and what they are using it
for. ‘Shifted away from direct competition and toward a coexistence where they
competed among each other for audience time and attention.’ (Karen, 2014:11) Some
social media sites are happy to co-exist because they have developed their own
audience and it doesn’t compare to other social media sites and their audience,
and are not bothered by the other social media sites audience.


New social media sites are now being created to
target a niche audience rather than compete with popular social media sites.
(Karen,2016:17) Claims that ‘Social medias transition from targeting the
general population to targeting specific groups represented a shift in
competition.’ This has seen more social media sites being created specifically
to target niche audiences rather than to out rightly compete with the more
generic and more popular well- known sites like Facebook and Twitter. This has
seen an effect where more niche sites are being created and gain their own


The idea of websites being created to not be the
most popular site is something that people did not understand but now because
websites can be created for anything people now understand that niche ideas can
still be popular. ‘The idea that many new sites are not trying to outshine
existing popular sites has caught on in the news media.’ (Karen,2014:19) This
allows more niche social media sites to be created rather than big social media
sites like Twitter and Facebook. ‘A niche medium often complements an existing
medium, but that does not mean the relationship is without competition.”
(Karen,2014:11) This allows niche sites to still compete with larger more
mainstream sites.


Niche social media sites are created to target mass
audiences and gain an audience for themselves. (Karen,2014:21) Concludes that ‘social
networking sites started out trying to attract the masses, but evolved into
sites that aim to attract smaller, niche markets.’ Social media sites now set
out to create a site which will gain can gain a smaller niche audience.

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