We Are Social’s 5 social media trends to watch in 2024

From attention layering to mischief mode

Creative agency We Are Social has identified five trends expected to play out on social media in 2024 in their global Think Forward 2024: The Social Reckoning report. The report is compiled by We Are Social’s cultural insights team, who gathered insights from over 1300 people across across its 19 global markets, along with interviews with external experts. Additionally, the report offers insights and suggestions for how brands can jump on these trends early. 


The five trends covered in Think Forward 2024:

Attention layering

As predicted by Think Forward, 2024 is anticipated to usher in a departure from ‘sludge content,’ which combines multiple videos to hold users’ attention, in favour of modes that focus on drawing people in through a shift away from hyper-stimulation. An example of this is the rise in popularity of the video essay, which can run for over an hour — indicating a desire for in-depth and entertaining learning. 

Post-representation

People still value representation, but there is less faith in the power of representation alone. We Are Social’s report suggests communities want to see ‘messy complexity’ over ‘neat narratives.’ On Reddit, people are turning to spaces like r/AskBlackGirls, r/AskTransgender, and r/AskGayBrosOver30 to help people gain a more nuanced understanding of marginalised groups’ lived reality — but through exploratory, anonymous storytelling rather than loud ‘representation’.

The offline internet

People want more connection between the online and offline worlds. Things that begin on the internet, like characters, communities, and behaviours, are transitioning to the real world, which is not only accepted but also expected.

Offline parties and events are being themed around niche internet in-jokes, making real life look like a live meme. An example is Drake satirically integrated Snapchat’s ‘crying face’ AR Filter into his live performance of Laugh Now, Cry Later, turning the faces in the crowd into weeping faces.

@much

This is genius😂😩 [via @Searra Priolo] #itsallablurtour #drake

♬ original sound – MuchMusic

Everyday fandom

The lines between fan and non-fan are increasingly blurred as we all engage in fan behaviours and immerse ourselves in collective moments. Think Forward suggests that we are seeing a significant shift in the adoption, sharing and normalisation of what would once have been seen as “extreme” fan behaviours.

IKEA has been connecting with anime fans to expand and gain more customers. Their latest back-to-school ad appeals to Gen Z’s interests to form a strong bond with the younger generation and become a significant part of their lives.

Mischief mode

As social media and the internet become more commoditised, users are breaking out of its commercial structures in an attempt to reclaim creativity, according to Think Forward. As brands and creators fight for space in a monetised landscape, many are rediscovering that sometimes, the best way to be noticed is to act out. 

Brands have been tapping into disruption and creativity. A recent example is how brands like Jacquemes and Maybelline leaning into CGI Out Of Home adverising. Participating in this creative technique not only signals a playful and rebellious streak, but also an understanding of what gets people talking.

Read the full report here.

Featured image: Polina Tankilevitch / Pexels

MediaCat

MediaCat is an online publication exploring marketing and media change. We focus on brands, the environments where they operate, and the industries that serve them, reporting on ideas, trends, and perspectives. Delving into modern brand experiences, evolving media landscapes, emerging forms of insight, the dynamic world of commerce, forces of transformation in organisations and markets, and the drivers of social impact, we aim to guide professionals navigating a brave new world.

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