We can summarize 2023 in 3 points:
- the increased use of AI and machine learning (ML) in companies;
- the growth of cyber security;
- concern about data privacy.
These trends indicate that the digital world will continue to change at breakneck speed over the next few years. Companies that are attentive to these changes will be prepared to face the challenges of the future.
But what has happened in practice over the past year?
Twitter has changed. If in 2022 everyone was talking about the metaverse, in 2023 everyone was talking about Twitter, even Twitter itself.
It changed its name and its owner. Elon Musk arrived and made a name for himself. Now under the name X, the social network has made several changes, which have had repercussions on other networks.
Source: Blue seal X (formerly Twitter)
The blue seal was synonymous with a verified account, increasing the account’s credibility. X has made the blue badge accessible to all accounts by paying a monthly or annual fee. What’s more, those who buy the blue seal will be able to view up to 6,000 tweets a day, while the rest will only see 300 to 600 posts a day – which opens up discussion about the purpose of the network, although the justification is, in the words of its owner, to avoid “extreme levels of data collection and manipulation of the system”.
But the most important change from Twitter to X is in the name: Twitter is no longer a social network with a character limit; on X you can publish any type of format.
X was the digital change that caused the most movement and discussion in the digital world in 2023. Are we facing a change in the social media paradigm? Will the word ‘social’ have a new meaning?
What is the alternative to X?
The answer comes from Meta and is called Threads. However, it’s not a stand-alone app: it’s integrated into Instagram. In its first five days, Threads attracted more than 100 million users but, according to reports, its user base has since fallen.
Threads allow you to share text updates, and create posts without requiring an image. Which is similar to Twitter’s original idea.
The reach of videos
A picture is worth a thousand words.
Or a video.
TikTok started it and Meta followed suit. Instagram’s reels were highlighted in the app, and Facebook, like a father who wants to wear the same clothes as his 16-year-old son, found a place to give shared videos more reach in the same format as the reels.
For both individuals and companies, Whatsapp has become the most popular communication and instant messaging channel. In 2023, a new Whatsapp Business price list and services were introduced for companies, with advantages when they also use Meta Business.
To keep conversations as cheap and secure as possible, there are many alternatives to WhatsApp, with Telegram being the most popular in Portugal.
Telegram is an app focused on security and speed of service. Telegram offers a cloud-based service, that allows messages to be copied and accessed by several devices. One of the advantages communicated by Telegram as differentiating it from its competitors is the possibility of creating a group of up to 100 contacts and being able to contact them all at once. An advantage that WhatsApp quickly responded to by creating communities in a similar way: a conversation with up to 5,000 contacts.
Communities and Channels
To segment conversations, just like in an email marketing system, there is the possibility of flowing communication channels with instant messages, creating communities and channels.
Communities are conversations with a larger number of contacts that can be divided up by topic: a marketing school can bring all its contacts together and divide up conversations between those on the Google Ads course and those on the UX design course, for example.
Whatsapp also has channels: a feature that allows a single administrator to send messages to many subscribers in a unidirectional way, i.e. the administrator sends the information and limits the response from the subscribers – who cannot interact with each other within the channel.
Whether it’s a group, a channel, or a community, there are more and more features that allow you to increase the feeling of COMMUNITY: something that brands want to create with their customers. And to that end, 2023 was also the year of our digital friends, the chatbots.
Shortcomings in Meta’s products
In 2023, several of Meta’s products and applications failed and were even inaccessible for several hours. Once the damage to the company was assessed, the debate opened up about the dependence of some businesses on this service: stores that only sell through Instagram and Facebook companies that only communicate with customers through WhatsApp.
Selling on the web or social media?
According to the Dinheiro Vivo website, more than 40% of Portuguese shop online, with clothing, footwear, and electronic equipment sharing the podium. We’ve already seen the impact the pandemic has had on According to the Dinheiro Vivo website, more than 40% of Portuguese shop online, with clothing, footwear, and electronic equipment sharing the podium. We’ve already seen the impact the pandemic has had on consumer behavior; what changes will occur in 2023?
Instagram abandons the store option
The analogy that best describes 2023 is: that Instagram is a rented house, it could become more expensive in the medium and long term. Meta ads will continue, but Instagram will no longer highlight the Shop option. The idea, according to Adam Mosseri, is to simplify Instagram and focus the platform on what they want to do: connect people to the things they love most. It will still be possible to sell on Instagram, but it will always be the user’s job and not the app’s priority.
And speaking of ads…
Meta now has an ad-free option: just pay.
With a web version and a mobile version (smartphones), Meta is launching a ‘Subscription’ option in 2023, which gives you access to and prioritizes all organic content – ad-free browsing. Those who don’t want to pay will continue to have the same experience but with ads.
This option was already used by YouTube – which had an impact on the creation of videos for ads, not only in their format but also in their storytelling, forcing you to surprise the user in the very first 5 seconds.
Privacy and data security
Privacy and data security here.
If 2022 was a terrible year when it came to cyber-attacks, 2023 was the year of cybersecurity – at least when it came to training professionals and raising public awareness of these issues.
From town halls to hospitals or private companies, even Microsoft platforms have fallen victim to the various forms of cyberattack: phishing, malware, Ransomware… Whatever the type of attack, the target is not just the institution, but all the data it holds.
Cybersecurity as a goal for 2024
In 2023, there were several significant changes to data privacy laws and regulations around the world. The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) came into force in 2018 and requires the person or company collecting data to:
- obtain the explicit consent of individuals before collecting their data;
- provide individuals with clear information on how their data will be collected and for what purpose it will be used;
- give individuals the right to access, correct, or delete their data;
- protect personal data against security breaches.
The EU has also joined forces to control all digital trade, asking the digital giants for help, making them gatekeepers with the huge responsibility of creating a fairer and more transparent digital trading space. You can also read more about this here.
Every time he does a Google search, he learns more about himself. Every time you use Waze, it absorbs your routines. Every time you subscribe to a newsletter, the brand gets your email address and (even!) cell phone number. Every time you make an online purchase, a series of people and systems record your card number.
Data is worth gold. That’s how you communicate and that’s how brands and companies understand where potential customers are. Unfortunately, not all of them use our data in the best way. And when they use our data maliciously, we get scams like ‘Hello, Mom. Hello, Dad’.
So we know a profession of the future: cybersecurity.
At the beginning of 2023, the main reason for being connected to the web was to search for information, followed by the noble goal of staying connected with family and friends. In this eagerness to connect whether personal or business content will continue to be king. The bet on social networks is still a winning one. However, the demands of the digital market and data security issues (your data) predict a more demanding 2024.
We end 2023 with reasons to believe in digital transformation. May 2024 be a year of intelligence in the digital world and the real world.