May 16, 2019Eugene Wei: Why We’re All Status Monkeys on Social Media – Recode Media with Peter KaftkaKey TakeawaysPeople are status seeking monkeysThe internet (with social networks) has turned status seeking from a local to a global gameSocial networks are fairly boring without the status features (likes/retweets/shares)Looking forward, more of the large social networks are going to start expanding utilityThis will make it MUCH harder to displace themIt’s very easy to stop using Facebook today, but with something like WeChat in China – it’s much, much harder (it’s how you pay for things)What might this look like?Instagram adding more convenient shopping featuresFacebook deploying its own cryptocurrencyIn this day and age, all forms of entertainment compete with all forms of entertainment“I think the world would be much more interesting if Apple, with their huge amounts of cash on hand, really did decide to take on Netflix”IntroEugene Wei (@eugenewei) worked at Amazon early in its life, was the head of product at Hulu and Flipboard, and head of video at OculusCheck out his blogFor more Eugene, check out these Podcast NotesEugene Wei: Tech, Media, and Culture – Invest Like the BestEugene Wei: Compress to Impress – North Star PodcastWhat’s Eugene been up to?Advising various companiesMeeting with lots of people trying to figure out what’s next for him work wise (but he’s in no rush)Writing on his blogEugene’s Latest Blog Post – Status as a ServiceTwo principles:People are status seeking monkeysPeople seek out the most efficient path for maximizing social capitalThe internet (with social networks) has turned status seeking from a local to a global gameWhereas once you were competing for status with only people in your tribe, now you’re competing for status with nearly everyone in the worldFacebook, Twitter, etc. are using status as a way to grow their businesses with things like likes/retweetsBut in many ways, these status seeking features MAKE the network – they’re boring without itStatus and the younger crowd:One way to look at things – Young people seek status through Instagram likes, while adults seek status through material items/their job titlesShould other companies, like Netflix, take advantage of social status seeking?It’s tough – you need some sort of “proof of work” to earn the statusLike taking a beautiful photo on InstagramOr composing a witty tweet under 280 charactersFor one – many people don’t want to share what they’re watching on NetflixSecond – It’s probably more “low status” if you spend 5 hours a day watching a certain showWhat surprised Eugene when writing Status as a Service?“Our mental models of social networks will be more complete if we just factor in status as one more element as to why certain networks work and others don’t”Eugene thinks we’re at the end of this “first generation of large social networks”Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram have been big for a number of years now Society is taking a look back at this first era of social networks to see what went right/wrong and figure out how to change the networks moving forwardThe Future of Social NetworksIf certain networks “lock in” too much status for people who are already on the networks, then a new generation of younger people will come along and say:“I don’t want to be on this network because the status has already been drained out of the system”Or – “It’s just too hard for me to break through”For example – it’s way harder to get a decent following on YouTube nowadays if you’re just starting outMore of the large social networks are going to start expanding utilityThis is similar to how in China, you can use WeChat to pay for stuff at a restaurant or call a car“Status is inherently volatile and you don’t want to be managing a network built only on status”This will make it MUCH harder to displace these networksIt’s very easy to stop using Facebook today, but with something like WeChat in China it’s much, much harder (it’s how you pay for things)What might this look like?Instagram adding more convenient shopping featuresFacebook deploying its own cryptocurrencyOne example of this already – Facebook breaking out Messenger into a separate appThe Hedonic Nature of Status Seeking“There’s something about playing a status game for a long time…it’s like eating too much sugar. You feel sick from doing it.”At first 50 likes on a tweet is great, but over time it doesn’t satisfy you and you need 100 to feel good etc. – it can get tiringOn Twitter Removing Likes, Retweets, and Follower Counts“We ALL crave some level of distinctiveness” It could work, but people have a tendency to just navigate towards the things they can use to distinguish themselves from othersJust remember – “People really want a sense of self-worth and identify from social networks”Amazon“Amazon has replaced Apple for the consumer internet company that people are most interested in and most optimistic about” – Peter“One of Jeff Bezo’s strengths is to just be laser-focused on the business. He compartmentalizes all that’s not important and focuses on what is important.” – EugeneEntertainmentAt any moment, you as a content creator are competing with EVERYONE and EVERYTHING“In the consumer’s mind now, all forms of entertainment trade off against each other”All forms of entertainment compete with all forms of entertainment“I think the world would be much more interesting if Apple, with their huge amounts of cash on hand, really did decide to take on Netflix”With all their free cash, Eugene thinks it would be a credible strategyRandomMany people are fans of Ben Thompson‘s writing at Stratechery (he charges $10/month)Ben has a separate Twitter account for talking about sports (@NoTechBen)These notes were edited by RoRoPa Editing ServicesBookmarkPlease login to bookmarkTags:netflix, social media, status, technologyAbout The Author MMillerAdd a Comment Cancel replyYour email address will not be published. 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