Social media and the internet are ever-evolving to satisfy the changing “needs and interests of its users,” as well as the owners of these platforms (McLachlan, 2023). Every year, new social media platforms are designed with a twist. 

Some social media platforms are created with a specific audience in mind, while others seek to offer features in an app that fill a gap in the needs and interests of social media users. Sometimes these new platforms are a hit, other times the platform is either too niche and audience specific, has design flaws users cannot overlook, or fails to capture the interests of users because they are not significantly different enough from other platforms. 

Though, when a social media platform takes off, it alters how we view the internet and social media and challenges other platforms to evolve to stay relevant. In 2016, social media platform TikTok took the world by storm when it was introduced to the internet. The app transformed what we knew about social media and offered users the ability to share short videos casually and spontaneously (McLachlan, 2023).

The response from existing social media platforms was staggering–Instagram and Facebook, both Meta-owned platforms, began prioritizing video formats, eventually releasing Instagram Reels and Instagram Stories to interest their users, with nearly identical concepts on Facebook. Whereas, Twitter evolved to better support videos and introduced Twitter Live Spaces. Today, TikTok remains “the most-downloaded app in the world,” (McLachlan, 2023).

Why Are Users Searching for New Social Media Platforms?

From Twitter, Instagram, TikTok, and Facebook, there is a wide variety of popular social media platforms to take part in today–so why are people searching for new social media platforms to join? Well, research suggests users are unhappy with the current selection. 

According to a poll managed by the Washington Post with more than 1,000 participants in the U.S., users cited distrust in the large platforms and annoyance of targeted advertisements. Around 72 percent of users “do not trust Facebook to responsibly handle their personal information and data,” while 60 percent of users “distrust TikTok's and Instagram's ability to do so,” (Wang, 2023). Additionally, more than 82 percent of users reported that the targeted advertisements present on all the major platforms are “annoying, invasive, and unhelpful,” (Wang, 2023). 

Social media users today value their privacy and data security now more than ever. With the influx of data breaches and confusing, vague privacy and security policies outlined in the terms and conditions, it’s no wonder internet users are searching for new social media platforms (Wang, 2023).

Emerging Social Media Platforms in 2023

The most notable of the new social media platforms that have emerged thus far in 2023 or within the most recent years are BeReal, Lemon8, and Threads. All 3 platforms are relatively new, with release dates within the last 4 years, but all of them have significantly grown in users and popularity in a short period. Let’s take a look at the rising social media platforms:

What is BeReal?

Created and released in 2019, BeReal is an app intended to break free of the aesthetic-focused format that dominates other social media platforms. BeReal is a photo-based app with a mission to create “a new and unique way to discover who your friends really are,” (McLachlan, 2023). This means filters, photoshop, and staged photos are not options within the app (McLachlan, 2023).

To participate in the app, you’ll need to turn on your notifications. Then, at any given time of day, BeReal will simultaneously send a notification to its users that ‘it’s time to be real.’ Wherever you are and whatever you’re doing, the app gives you 2 minutes to take two photos using your front and back camera at the same time (McLachlan, 2023).

If you’re within the app’s 2-minute time frame, you have the option to retake the photo. If you’re late, you only get one photo and one minute to arrange the shot. Finally, you can post it for all of your BeReal friends to see (McLachlan, 2023). 

Though, there is one caveat to the app: to see your friend's photos of the day, you must post a photo of your own. This function forces users to be active participants in their BeReal community if they want to use the app at all.

BeReal’s release comes after many years of users complaining about the increase of aesthetics present on other social media platforms and the constant pressure to achieve a perceived 'perfection' online. Today, many younger audiences on social media reject the notion of perfectly-crafted personas and images. The demand for more ‘reality’ in online spaces is what currently drives the success of BeReal (Wang, 2023). 

This social media layout challenges brands to get creative if they want to utilize BeReal. Advertisements are explicitly prohibited on the app, meaning marketing has to get creative and less invasive if they want to participate in the app. 

One example of an innovative approach to marketing on BeReal is from Chipotle. In 2022, the company “posted a photo of a takeout bag with a reusable promo code scrawled on it. The promo code allowed the first 100 people who saw it to get a free entree,” (Wang, 2023). Within 30 minutes, the promo code was maxed out on its use (Wang, 2023).


Since its release, BeReal has experienced significant growth annually reaching more people every year. By 2022, the app’s “usage was up 312%, and downloads were up 1,000% from the previous year,” and was downloaded by nearly 30 million users (McLachlan, 2023). 

What is Lemon8?

Launched in 2020 by TikTok’s parent company, ByteDance, Lemon8 is a social media platform “that combines elements of TikTok, Pinterest, and Instagram,” to highlight lifestyle photos with less of an emphasis on videos (McLachlan, 2023). Lemon8 intends to share inspiration and recommendations and does so with a layout that lends itself to creating aesthetically pleasing content. 

The app categorizes its content into six specific topics which include: beauty, fashion, food, home, travel, and wellness (McLachlan, 2023). Common topics on the platform currently range from “nail inspiration, outfits of the day, product reviews, and ‘aesthetic’ content,” with users posting content across different interests in a way that doesn’t box users into a specific niche (Buono, 2023). 

Lemon8 incorporates a similar board formatting as Pinterest but also includes ‘following’ and ‘for you’ tabs to toggle between content (McLachlan, 2023). The app makes the editing process seamless with auto-editing, filters, photo stickers, image text, and caption templates (Buono, 2023). 

Captions on Lemon8 can be lengthy with several paragraphs to accompany a photo carousel or individual photo, and can even feel like entire blog posts rather than a social caption (Buono, 2023). The app even encourages users to write longer captions with a 150-word count minimum, which is a striking contrast to other platforms that typically feature a short word count or character maximum.

Although the platform leans toward pleasing aesthetics, some say it’s reminiscent of the early days of Instagram and Pinterest: where aesthetics were fun to incorporate but didn’t feel like a necessity and a stronger emphasis on community was present (Buono, 2023). Currently, the app doesn’t feature advertisements from the app, but influencers on the app have posted sponsored content. Though, the sponsored content seems less distinguishable, which some users prefer (McLachlan, 2023).

In March this year, Lemon8 was “the number 9 most downloaded app in the US App Store,” despite only being available in the U.S. and U.K. (Buono, 2023). If the app decides to expand to a global audience, Lemon8 may be on its way to growing exponentially within the next few years.

What is Threads?

The most recent social media platform to join this list is the Meta-owned Threads, an app coined by the public as Twitter’s top competitor which was released in July this year. Upon its release to the public, Threads “received five million sign-ups in its first four hours and had 30 million users,” in less than a few days (Strunck, 2023). 

According to Meta, Threads is a “text-based conversation app,” designed as a space “where communities come together to discuss everything from the topics you care about today to what’ll be trending tomorrow,” (Strunck, 2023; Meta, 2023). To log in, you only need your Instagram account to gain access. Once you’re in the app, you have the option to follow the same people from your Instagram account on their Threads profile, or you can choose to follow different people entirely (Strunck, 2023).

Your threads feed will contain those you follow plus recommended content from other creators. Thread posts can contain “up to 500 characters and include links, photos, and videos up to 5 minutes in length,” which contrasts Twitter's 250-character maximum for standard users (Meta, 2023). 

Sharing across Instagram and Threads is also easy, with options to share your content on your Instagram feed or Instagram stories (Meta, 2023). Threads also seems to prioritize the privacy and safety of its younger users, as any user under the age of 16, “or under 18 in certain countries, will be defaulted into a private profile when they join Threads,” (Meta, 2023). 

Additionally, Meta announced their plans for the Threads app to join ActivityPub, an “open social networking protocol established by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), the body responsible for the open standards that power the modern web,” (Meta, 2023). Joining ActivityPub would allow Threads to become “interoperable with other apps that also support the ActivityPub protocol, such as Mastodon and WordPress – allowing new types of connections that are simply not possible on most social apps today,” (Meta, 2023).

Although, one caveat that is preventing some users from joining and has others regretting their choice to join, is that once a Threads account is created, it’s currently semi-permanent. To delete your Threads account you will need to delete your Instagram account entirely. Though, you can still choose to make your profile private and deactivate your account if you change your mind (Strunck, 2023).

Nearing its one-month anniversary release, Threads has 118 million users as of July 28, 2023 (Howarth, 2023). As of now, the success and longevity of this widely downloaded app remain unknown, but with its current growth rate, Threads is unlikely to go anywhere anytime soon.

As social media and the needs and interests of online users evolve, digital marketing must also evolve to survive the ever-changing landscape. If your business wants to create a genuine and authentic campaign or digital marketing strategy, BlueTickSocial is here to help. Contact us today for a consultation that will help your brand grow its digital presence!


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What is Threads? Everything you need to know about Meta's new app