Where traditional social media networks once dominated the creator landscape with hierarchical systems and immense follower counts dictating who and what is in fashion, newer niche networks that focus on community-oriented experiences are now pushing back against typical top-down creator ecosystems.
Smaller social media platforms that facilitate greater peer-to-peer discussion and engagement, like Slack and Discord, are growing in popularity with people that find the pressure of public metrics all too overwhelming. And as increasingly hard-to-navigate algorithms drive creators to transition to spaces where they can interact with intention, fans are being ushered towards networks where they can deepen their bonds to creators and like-minded peers.
Gen Z is one cohort that's decentralising the power bigger social media platforms have, and are instead favouring platforms where they feel more confident engaging online. 65% of Gen Z feel more confident online with community-focused social apps, 70% joined an online community to ‘belong’ and 81% say they rely on online communities to educate them about real-world issues and what they can do to help.
More intimate spaces where fans can build two-way relationships with the people they follow can allow social media users to find liberation and community. Apps like Geneva have become popular among female creators and Gen Z due to their focus on providing a place for connection that doesn't focus on likes or follower counts, and Patreon allows creators to earn money from subscriptions with members receiving access to exclusive, regular content where they can directly interact with the people they follow.