Visualizing Design: 196 Flags of Countries Around the World
Historically, flags primarily served as means of identification in warfare, but today, national flags are flown to represent a country both on the international stage and domestically.
Every flag incorporates design elements and colors that symbolize certain aspects of each country’s history and identity. And as you’ve likely noticed, many of them fall under similar color conventions or patterns, with the exception of a few rare outliers.
This visualization by Giulia De Amicis shows flags of 196 countries recognized by international standards, grouped according to the main design characteristics—color and pattern.
It includes 193 United Nations Member States, two permanent non-member observer states—Vatican City and Palestine, and Taiwan, a self-ruled democracy and an ex-member of the UN.
Flags of Countries: Common Shapes and Aspect Ratio
Most countries have flags in a quadrilateral shape—a four-sided polygon with four edges and four corners—mainly with a 2:3 or 1:2 aspect ratio.
In contrast, the flag of Nepal stands out with its unique layout. It consists of two triangular shapes with a white moon on the top and a white sun on the bottom section.
The unusual flag’s design has at times caused difficulties for large-scale reproduction.
In the 2016 Summer Olympics, for example, the Nepalese flag was placed on a white rectangular cloth shaped the same as other flags.
What are the Most Popular Colors in Flags?
By far, the most popular color used in national flags is red, with 20% of listed countries featuring it in their flag design. In vexillology—the study of flags—it is believed that red is a symbol of power, bravery, revolution, and vibrancy, as well as war in reference to past bloodshed.
Green comes as the second most used flag color with 15% of countries incorporating it, followed by black (14%), purple (12%), white (11.5%), light blue (11%), and blue (9.5%). Yellow was the least popular with just 7% of countries using it in their national flags.
Certain regions share a distinct mix of colors that neighboring countries have adopted. For example, red, white, green, and black are seen in several Arab nation flags. Similarly, green, red, and yellow combinations are often symbolic of Pan-African countries.
Patterns and Symbolism Behind Flag Designs
A simple tricolor design, in either a vertical and horizontal orientation, is the most frequent pattern with 68 countries displaying it on their flags. Stars follow with 40 country flags, while 29 flags had either a seal or stripes.
But there are many other flag designs to consider, such as the geometrical designs used by Cuba and South Africa, crosses like the Union Jack of the UK, and circles like those of Japan and South Korea. And not every flag fits one single design category, such as Pakistan’s white and green flag with a crescent and star, or the many flags that include a Union Jack within their design.
Symbolism ascribed to flag design can range from abstract to more literal explanations. The meaning of flag designs can change over time, too, often influenced by major political shifts.
For example, the red flag of the People’s Republic of China has one prominent yellow star, which used to stand for the Chinese Communist Party, while the smaller stars were previously associated with the four social classes making up the society. Today, the large star represents China itself, while the smaller stars stand for the country’s many national minorities.
In a similar manner, other nations have made changes to their flag designs to reflect major political changes, or people have ascribed their own revised meanings to the elements depicted in their country’s flag.
Which nation’s flag catches your eye? Are there any other flags that are memorable or unique but not featured on this list?
This article was published as a part of Visual Capitalist's Creator Program, which features data-driven visuals from some of our favorite Creators around the world.
Every Song With Over 1 Billion Spotify Streams
Spotify’s ‘Billions Club’ playlist tracks every song with over 1 billion streams. We took the data and broke it down by decade and artist.
Every Song With Over 1 Billion Spotify Streams
View the high-resolution of the infographic by clicking here.
Spotify has a relatively short history, launching in Europe in 2008, and eventually moving into the U.S. market in 2011. Since then, the Stockholm-based company has become the world’s most popular audio streaming service with 456 million users across 183 markets.
With such a large userbase, major artists on Spotify have seen their biggest hits accumulate millions, if not billions of streams. So, in July 2021, Spotify created the Billions Club, a playlist comprising every song to reach the 1 billion milestone.
We at Visual Capitalist saw this as an opportunity to create a unique data visualization, so we compiled the entire playlist and arranged it by decade and artist.
The Top 10 Artists
Below are the top 10 artists, ranked by their number of songs with over 1 billion streams. The list actually includes 11 artists because Shawn Mendes, Bruno Mars, and Coldplay are tied with 5 songs in the Billions Club.
|Rank||Artist||Artist's Monthly Listens||Songs With 1 Billion+ Streams|
Sorting this list in different ways can reveal some interesting takeaways.
For starters, Ariana Grande is the only female artist present in the top 10. Her best performing song on Spotify is 7 rings, which was included in her fifth studio album thank u, next. The track has accumulated 1.8 billion streams since February 8, 2019.
Female superstars who narrowly missed the top 10 list include Adele, Billie Eilish, Dua Lipa, and Olivia Rodrigo, who all have four songs in the Billions Club.
Most of these artists are relatively new, so it’s reasonable to assume that they’ll be breaking into the top 10 soon. Olivia Rodrigo, for example, just released her debut album SOUR in 2021.
By Artist Tenure
Which top 10 artist has been around the longest?
We measure tenure in this context as the time that has elapsed since the artist’s debut album. In this case, the crown goes to Eminem, who released Infinite in November 1996.
The 11-track album was released on cassette and vinyl, and according to the Eminem Fandom wiki, only sold around 1,000 copies. The title track, Infinite, is the only song from the album that is available on Spotify, and it currently has 33 million plays.
The Full List
The Billions Club contains over 300 songs, with the majority being released in the 2010s. This is largely due to the fact that Spotify launched at the start of that decade.
Below is the data we used to create this infographic, which can be sorted by track name, artist, play count, track length, or release date.
|Track Name||Artist||Play count (billions)||Track length (secs)||Release date|
|Youngblood||5 Seconds of Summer||1.5||203||2018|
|Take on Me||a-ha||1.2||225||1985|
|Highway to Hell||AC/DC||1.1||208||1979|
|Back In Black||AC/DC||1.1||255||1980|
|Someone Like You||Adele||1.4||285||2011|
|Rolling in the Deep||Adele||1.2||228||2011|
|Easy On Me||Adele||1.1||224||2021|
|Let Me Down Slowly||Alec Benjamin||1.1||169||2018|
|Scars To Your Beautiful||Alessia Cara||1.1||230||2015|
|Do I Wanna Know?||Arctic Monkeys||1.5||272||2013|
|7 rings||Ariana Grande||1.8||178||2019|
|thank u, next||Ariana Grande||1.6||207||2019|
|Side To Side||Ariana Grande||1.2||226||2016|
|no tears left to cry||Ariana Grande||1.2||206||2018|
|Into You||Ariana Grande||1.1||244||2016|
|One Last Time||Ariana Grande||1||197||2014|
|Sweet but Psycho||Ava Max||1.4||187||2020|
|Wake Me Up||Avicii||1.7||247||2013|
|Waiting For Love||Avicii||1||230||2015|
|More Than You Know||Axwell /\ Ingrosso||1.1||203||2017|
|I Want It That Way||Backstreet Boys||1||213||1999|
|Meant to Be||Bebe Rexha||1.2||163||2017|
|bad guy||Billie Eilish||2.2||194||2019|
|when the party's over||Billie Eilish||1.4||196||2019|
|everything i wanted||Billie Eilish||1.2||245||2019|
|hot girl bummer||blackbear||1.1||188||2020|
|Livin' On A Prayer||Bon Jonvi||1.1||249||1986|
|That's What I Like||Bruno Mars||1.5||206||2016|
|Just the Way You Are||Bruno Mars||1.4||220||2010|
|When I Was Your Man||Bruno Mars||1.3||214||2012|
|Locked out of Heaven||Bruno Mars||1.2||233||2012|
|24K Magic||Bruno Mars||1.2||225||2016|
|One Kiss||Calvin Harris||1.6||214||2018|
|This Is What You Came For||Calvin Harris||1.4||222||2016|
|I Like It||Cardi B||1.4||253||2018|
|We Don't Talk Anymore||Charlie Puth||1.4||217||2016|
|A Thousand Years||Christina Perri||1.2||285||2011|
|Rather Be||Clean Bandit||1.1||227||2014|
|Viva La Vida||Coldplay||1.2||242||2008|
|Hymn for the Weekend||Coldplay||1||258||2015|
|Con Calma||Daddy Yankee||1.1||193||2019|
|Me Rehúso||Danny Ocean||1.3||205||2016|
|Be Alright||Dean Lewis||1.4||196||2018|
|Sorry Not Sorry||Demi Lovato||1||203||2017|
|I'm the One||DJ Khaled||1.1||288||2017|
|Let Me Love You||DJ Snake||1.7||205||2016|
|Taki Taki||DJ Snake||1.3||213||2018|
|Cake By The Ocean||DNCE||1.3||219||2016|
|Kiss Me More||Doja Cat||1.4||208||2021|
|Say So||Doja Cat||1||237||2019|
|Danza Kuduro||Don Omar||1||198||2010|
|Still D.R.E.||Dr Dre||1||270||1999|
|In My Feelings||Drake||1.3||217||2018|
|Nice For What||Drake||1.1||210||2018|
|Don't Start Now||Dua Lipa||2.1||183||2020|
|New Rules||Dua Lipa||1.8||209||2017|
|In My Mind||Dynoro||1.2||184||2018|
|Hotel California (2013 Remaster)||Eagles||1.2||391||1976|
|September||Earth, Wind & Fire||1.1||215||1978|
|Shape of You||Ed Sheeran||3.3||233||2017|
|Thinking out Loud||Ed Sheeran||2.1||281||2014|
|I Don't Care||Ed Sheeran||1.6||219||2019|
|Bad Habits||Ed Sheeran||1.3||230||2021|
|Beautiful People||Ed Sheeran||1.2||197||2019|
|Galway Girl||Ed Sheeran||1.1||170||2017|
|Castle on the Hill||Ed Sheeran||1.1||261||2017|
|Love Me Like You Do||Ellie Goulding||1.3||252||2015|
|Cold Heart (PNAU Remix)||Elton John||1.2||202||2021|
|Till I Collapse||Eminem||1.5||297||2002|
|The Real Slim Shady||Eminem||1.1||284||2000|
|Love The Way You Lie||Eminem||1.1||263||2010|
|Work from Home||Fifth Harmony||1.3||214||2016|
|Pumped Up Kicks||Foster The People||1.3||240||2011|
|Life Is Good||Future||1||237||2020|
|Me, Myself & I||G-Eazy||1.1||251||2015|
|Heat Waves||Glass Animals||2.1||238||2020|
|i hate u, i love u||gnash||1.2||251||2016|
|Somebody That I Used To Know||Gotye||1.3||244||2011|
|Watermelon Sugar||Harry Styles||2||174||2019|
|As It Was||Harry Styles||1.5||167||2022|
|Adore You||Harry Styles||1.2||207||2019|
|Sign of the Times||Harry Styles||1.1||340||2017|
|Take Me to Church||Hozier||1.9||241||2014|
|Mi Gente||J Balvin||1.3||189||2017|
|LA CANCIÓN||J Balvin||1.2||242||2019|
|No Role Modelz||J. Cole||1.4||292||2014|
|Say You Won't Let Go||James Arthur||2.2||211||2016|
|Let It Go||James Bay||1||260||2014|
|I'm Yours||Jason Mraz||1.5||243||2008|
|Ni**as in Paris||JAY-Z||1||219||2011|
|Bang Bang||Jessie J||1.1||199||2014|
|All of Me||John Legend||1.9||269||2013|
|Don't Stop Believin'||Journey||1.4||250||1981|
|Lucid Dreams||Juice WRLD||2.1||239||2018|
|All Girls Are The Same||Juice WRLD||1.1||165||2018|
|Love Yourself||Justin Bieber||1.9||233||2015|
|What Do You Mean?||Justin Bieber||1.4||205||2015|
|CAN'T STOP THE FEELING!||Justin Timberlake||1.4||237||2016|
|Dark Horse||Katy Perry||1||215||2013|
|All The Stars||Kendrick Lamar||1.1||232||2018|
|Young Dumb & Broke||Khalid||1.2||202||2017|
|Sex on Fire||Kings of Leon||1||203||2008|
|It Ain't Me||Kygo||1.2||220||2017|
|I Like Me Better||Lauv||1.5||197||2018|
|Someone You Loved||Lewis Capaldi||2.5||182||2019|
|Before You Go||Lewis Capaldi||1.4||215||2019|
|Drip Too Hard||Lil Baby||1.1||145||2018|
|Blueberry Faygo||Lil Mosey||1.1||162||2020|
|MONTERO (Call Me By Your Name)||Lil Nas X||1.6||137||2021|
|INDUSTRY BABY||Lil Nas X||1.6||212||2021|
|Old Town Road - Remix||Lil Nas X||1.4||157||2019|
|XO Tour Llif3||Lil Uzi Vert||1.8||182||2017|
|In the End||Linkin Park||1.4||216||2000|
|The Night We Met||Lord Huron||1.1||208||2015|
|Despacito - Remix||Luis Fonsi||1.6||228||2017|
|7 Years||Lukas Graham||1.5||237||2016|
|Sweet Home Alabama||Lynyrd Skynyrd||1||283||1974|
|Can't Hold Us||Macklemore & Ryan Lewis||1.7||258||2012|
|Lean On||Major Lazer||1.7||176||2015|
|Cold Water||Major Lazer||1.3||185||2016|
|Light It Up||Major Lazer||1.1||286||2015|
|All I Want for Christmas Is You||Mariah Carey||1.2||241||1994|
|Uptown Funk||Mark Ronson||1.6||269||2015|
|Girls Like You||Maroon 5||1.5||235||2018|
|She Will Be Loved||Maroon 5||1.1||257||2002|
|What Lovers Do||Maroon 5||1.1||199||2018|
|In the Name of Love||Martin Garrix||1.2||195||2016|
|Scared to Be Lonely||Martin Garrix||1.1||220||2017|
|Astronaut In The Ocean||Masked Wolf||1||132||2021|
|Billie Jean||Michael Jackson||1.2||294||1982|
|I Took A Pill in Ibiza - Seeb Remix||Mike Posner||1.6||197||2016|
|Party in the U.S.A.||Miley Cyrus||1||202||2009|
|Stolen Dance||Milky Chance||1.1||313||2014|
|Let You Down||NF||1.2||212||2017|
|Te Boté||Nio Garcia||1||417||2018|
|Smells Like Teen Spirit||Nirvana||1.5||301||1991|
|Ric Flair Drip||Offset||1.1||172||2017|
|good 4 u||Olivia Rodrigo||1.7||178||2021|
|drivers license||Olivia Rodrigo||1.6||242||2021|
|deja vu||Olivia Rodrigo||1||215||2021|
|Cheerleader (Felix Jaehn Remix)||OMI||1.4||180||2015|
|High Hopes||Panic! At The Disco||1.3||190||2018|
|Let Her Go||Passenger||1.7||252||2012|
|Calma - Remix||Pedro Capó||1||238||2018|
|Feel It Still||Portugal||1.1||163||2017|
|Better Now||Post Malone||1.6||231||2018|
|I Fall Apart||Post Malone||1.4||223||2016|
|death bed (coffee for your head)||Powfu||1.3||173||2020|
|Don't Stop Me Now||Queen||1.4||209||1978|
|Another One Bites The Dust||Queen||1.4||214||1980|
|Todo De Ti||Rauw Alejandro||1||199||2021|
|Under the Bridge||Red Hot Chili Peppers||1||264||1991|
|Californication||Red Hot Chili Peppers||1||329||1999|
|Work from Home||Rihanna||1.2||219||2016|
|The Box||Roddy Ricch||1.5||196||2019|
|Roses (Imanbek Remix)||SAINt JHN||1.7||176||2019|
|Stay With Me||Sam Smith||1.6||172||2014|
|Too Good At Goodbyes||Sam Smith||1.6||201||2017|
|I'm Not The Only One||Sam Smith||1.4||239||2014|
|Dancing With A Stranger||Sam Smith||1.1||171||2019|
|Hips Don't Lie||Shakira||1.1||218||2005|
|Treat You Better||Shawn Mendes||1.6||187||2017|
|There's Nothing Holdin' Me Back||Shawn Mendes||1.5||199||2017|
|Young, Wild & Free||Snoop Dogg||1.1||207||2011|
|Chasing Cars||Snow Patrol||1||267||2006|
|The Less I Know The Better||Tame Impala||1.1||216||2015|
|you broke me first||Tate McRae||1||169||2020|
|Something Just Like This||The Chainsmokers||2||247||2017|
|Don't Let Me Down||The Chainsmokers||1.6||208||2016|
|Iris||The Goo Goo Dolls||1.1||289||1998|
|STAY||The Kid LAROI||2.2||141||2021|
|Mr. Brightside||The Killers||1.6||222||2004|
|Sweater Weather||The Neighbourhood||1.8||240||2013|
|Every Breath You Take||The Police||1.3||253||1983|
|Hall of Fame||The Script||1.1||202||2012|
|Blinding Lights||The Weeknd||3.2||200||2020|
|The Hills||The Weeknd||1.7||242||2015|
|Can't Feel My Face||The Weeknd||1.4||213||2015|
|I Feel It Coming||The Weeknd||1.4||269||2016|
|Earned It||The Weeknd||1.3||277||2015|
|Save Your Tears||The Weeknd||1.2||215||2020|
|Call Out My Name||The Weeknd||1.1||228||2018|
|Die For You||The Weeknd||1||260||2016|
|Seven Nation Army||The White Stripes||1.2||232||2003|
|Another Love||Tom Odell||1.2||244||2013|
|Dance Monkey||Tones And I||2.7||209||2019|
|Hey, Soul Sister||Train||1.1||216||2010|
|SICKO MODE||Travis Scott||1.7||312||2018|
|HIGHEST IN THE ROOM||Travis Scott||1.2||175||2019|
|BUTTERFLY EFFECT||Travis Scott||1||190||2018|
|Stressed Out||Twenty One Pilots||1.8||202||2015|
|Ride||Twenty One Pilots||1.4||214||2015|
|Heathens||Twenty One Pilots||1.4||195||2016|
|Shut Up and Dance||WALK THE MOON||1.2||199||2014|
|See You Again||Wiz Khalifa||1.5||229||2015|
|Everybody Dies In Their Nightmares||XXXTENTACION||1.8||119||2017|
|Look At Me!||XXXTENTACION||1.1||126||2017|
|Lush Life||Zara Larsson||1.1||201||2017|
|I Don't Wanna Live Forever||ZAYN||1.3||245||2017|
|Dusk Till Dawn||ZAYN||1.3||239||2018|
Note: Our list includes two songs that have crossed one billion streams, but have not yet been added to the official playlist.
Please note that new songs are constantly being added to the Billions Club, so our list may not be up to date for very long. Both Rihanna and Taylor Swift will be joining the club any day now as Umbrella (feat. Jay-Z) and Blank Space tick up towards the one billion mark.
With songs on this playlist receiving over 446 billion streams so far, at least some of them are likely to be familiar to you. Some may even find their way into your annual feature called Spotify Wrapped, a personalized roundup sent to Spotify users covering your most listened to songs of the year.
One Final Note
With the holidays upon us, you’re going to be hearing a lot of Christmas music in the coming weeks, whether it’s at home, at the mall, or in a cafe.
Chances are, one of those songs will be Mariah Carey’s All I Want for Christmas Is You. Not only is this song a holiday staple, it’s also the only Christmas song with over 1 billion streams on Spotify.
Released in October 1994 with Carey’s first holiday album, Merry Christmas, the track continues to be a massive success. In 2021, it became the first and only Christmas song to receive Diamond certification by the RIAA (Recording Industry Association of America).
The design of this graphic is partially inspired by The Pudding’s fantastic piece, The Largest Vocabulary In Hip Hop.
Visualizing the World’s Top Social Media and Messaging Apps
From Twitter to TikTok, this infographic compares the universe of social media and messaging platforms by number of monthly active users.
The Social Media Universe in 2022
For a time, life in the social media universe was mostly uneventful. Consider these spicy (at the time) headlines:
- Even President Obama Thinks That Facebook Isn’t Cool Anymore (Techcrunch, 2014)
- Jack Dorsey Returns to Twitter as Chief, to Shrugs and Quips (New York Times, 2015)
- Instagram’s new stories are a near-perfect copy of Snapchat (Mashable, 2016)
In hindsight, the years leading up to 2016 were downright sleepy in comparison with what would follow. Donald Trump’s meteoric, tweet-powered rise to the presidency. The Cambridge Analytica scandal. Congressional hearings on privacy and bias. TikTok at the center of souring U.S.–China relations. Each new day brought a fresh wave of controversy the shores of once infallible social media platforms.
Today, the honeymoon phase is long over and the messiness of running a global social platform is now on full display. Nowhere is this more evident than Twitter during the current Elon Musk transitional period—but more details on that later.
For now, let’s explore the social media universe in 2022.
Mapping the Social Media and Messaging Universe
In 2022, the social universe is looking more crowded than in previous years.
The scale of Meta’s platforms still dominate thanks to their global reach, but there are a number of smaller networks fighting for market share. Here’s a look at popular platforms, organized from largest to smallest active userbase:
Meanwhile, here are the top 10 social media and messaging platforms by publicly-available monthly active users:
|Rank||Platform Name||Parent Company||Primary Function||Monthly Active Users|
|#1||Meta Platforms||Social network||2.9 billion|
|#2||YouTube||Alphabet||Video content||2.3 billion|
|#3||Meta Platforms||Messaging||2.0 billion|
|#4||Messenger||Meta Platforms||Messaging||1.3 billion|
|#5||Meta Platforms||Video content||1.2 billion|
|#7||TikTok||ByteDance||Video content||732 million|
|#9||Douyin||ByteDance||Video content||600 million|
YouTube is the only true competition for Meta’s scale and reach. Alphabet’s video content hub with social features boasts more than two billion monthly active users. YouTube’s embrace of the creator economy is nudging the platform further into pure social media territory with the introduction of “handles”.
As seen in the visualization above, China has its own ecosystem of large social and messaging platforms—the largest of these being WeChat.
The only platform in the top 20 that is not based in either the U.S. or China is the privacy-focused messaging app, Telegram. The Dubai-based company has a unique backstory. It was created after the founders of Russian social network VK left the country after resisting government pressure to release data on the social network’s users in Ukraine.
Today, there are also a number of smaller, special interest platforms. OnlyFans, for example, is focused on adult content creators. Parler and Truth Social appeal to users who want fewer constraints on the content they post and consume. BeReal aims to create more authentic moments by prompting users to post a photo at a random time each day.
Below, we dig into a few of these platforms into more depth.
Big Trouble in Little Metaverse
Having a figurehead CEO is a double-edged sword. When things are going well, the market rallies around the successful leader. Case in point, Mark Zuckerberg was named Time’s Person of the Year in 2010. Even as recently as 2016, Glassdoor named the Facebook founder the “most admired tech CEO”.
On the flip side, when the tide turns, it turns fast. After a series of controversies, Zuckerberg took a multi-billion-dollar gamble by renaming his entire company Meta and pivoting its focus to the burgeoning idea of a metaverse. Meta’s New Horizons platform is rumored to have plateaued at about 200,000 active users, which is underwhelming for a company that still reaches a sizable slice of humanity with its other services.
Part of Meta’s near-term success hinges on VR headsets being a hot gift this holiday season. Meta’s cheapest headset is $400, which could be a tough sell in today’s economic environment.
Of course, it’s too early to know whether Zuckerberg’s gamble will pay off. As always, all is forgiven once a business unit takes off and becomes profitable.
Microblogging with Macro Expectations
Twitter has a complicated history.
The company was launched in the shadow of Facebook’s massive growth, and was saddled with expectations that were tough to meet. Although Twitter has an engaged and influential audience, it hasn’t managed to monetize them at the level of Meta’s platforms (for better or worse). The introduction of Twitter Blue in 2021 did not resonate with users at the scale the company hoped, and “fleets” were essentially written off as a failed experiment.
In addition, Twitter is a magnet for criticism and debate around free speech, in part because of its central place in political discourse.
These issues are directly related to the company’s recent sale to Elon Musk. At the time of this article, Twitter finds itself in the midst of a painful, and very public, internal restructuring.
Social media has always been dominated by Facebook and its related apps. When a new challenger came along, Facebook either acquired it (Instagram, WhatsApp), or “acquired” their features (Snapchat). TikTok is the first challenger to keep its momentum and growth, even as Instagram rolled out very similar features.
TikTok is also a rare case of a Chinese tech product crossing over into Western markets. The ascendancy of TikTok was not without controversy though. Suspicion over Chinese access to user data continues to be an issue both in the U.S., and in other large markets around the world. TikTok has been banned in India since 2020.
Despite these headwinds, TikTok remains wildly popular. The short-form video platform was the number one downloaded app on the planet, and it remains a favorite of the all-important Gen Z demographic.
We Shall Surveil
In recent years, neighborhood-based social networks have sprung up and gained traction. NextDoor used physical letters sent to adjacent addresses to supercharge its growth, while Neighbors piggybacked off the popularity of Ring’s doorbell cameras. Although members post about more benign topics such as lost cats and where to find a good plumber, crime is an increasingly common theme as well.
Apps like Neighbors and Citizen have a more overt focus on crime and safety. While the growth of these apps reflects an obvious interest preventing crime, critics point out that the ubiquity of personal surveillance equipment and forums built purely around public safety promote a culture of suspicion in communities.
This type of social network is still quite new, so it remains to be seen if they remain niche communities, or grow into something bigger.
Chaos and Opportunity
It was Sun Tzu who famously said, “In the midst of chaos, there is also opportunity”.
This is the risk and opportunity in the social media universe today. With their massive networks and high switching costs (e.g. personalization, library of existing posts), the largest platforms have created moats that make life hard for upstart brands looking to replace established platforms. On the other hand, controversy on platforms like Twitter and Facebook may cause some users to consider new options.
The multi-billion-dollar question—is dissatisfaction with major platforms temporary, or will emerging networks like Mastodon or BeReal hit critical mass and become new staples for people connecting online. Time will tell.
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