Wolves and the social food chain


I recently read this article  that discusses how Snapchat needs to grow faster to compete with Instagram.  I call Snapchat “Facebook Labs” because Instagram has copied most of Snapchat’s functionality over the past year. So much that Snapchat has acquired a team that makes reverse engineering difficult.  (I also want to see if they can get creative with patenting.) I also read about a month ago, that Twitter has lost 2 million users. That said, I’m unsure that it’s time to start worrying about a company that has 280 million active users. Maybe I’m wrong. We. Shall. See.

But, if you back up 30,000ft, both of these companies have relatively the same issue. They’re filled with wolves. Their users are predominantly sophisticated within their those ecosystems. (Below is a data visualization that shows the influence of Twitter users on Facebook users. Twitter is blue and Facebook is green.)

If you understand how the food chain works, you shouldn’t be surprised by Snapchat’s slowing growth and Twitter’s reduction. The question those companies need to ask themselves is: How many wolves are there?

By Michael Myers

I'm an Associate Teaching Professor of Digital Marketing at the Daniels College of Business, University of Denver. I also consult with startups and established brands. I'm currently interested in artificial intelligence, cognitive neuroscience and culture. I am married to an amazing woman and have two incredible children. I was raised in Colorado and spend my free time with family, cycling, snowboarding and going to the Pacific Ocean to SCUBA dive + surf. I'm passionate about architecture, design, street art, photography and tattooing.