Can Metaverse save the social dream of ByteDance?

Tie Da’s WeChat and QQ, and other chat software of Liushui.

The domestic social software market in 2019 is particularly lively. On the eighth anniversary of WeChat, the three social softwares, Multi-Flash, Toilet MT and Chatbao, were released on the same day. They belonged to ByteDance, Yunge Smart (Wang Xin) and Kuairu Among the products of Technology (Luo Yonghao), Duoxian was regarded by many people as the biggest challenger of WeChat at the time.

Recently, according to Tech Planet’s report, the product team of Byte’s social software Feichao has undergone personnel changes, and employees have been adjusted to other parts. Feichao is currently unavailable, and the software page has a server abnormality. The new version of Doxan needs to merge the original Doxan account with the Douyin account when logging in. If you choose not to merge, it will pop up “Balance Withdrawal”, “Migrate Friends to Douyin”, “Direct Cancellation of Account” and “Export Personal Data”. Option means that multiple flashes will fade out of the market.

Before Duoshan adjusted his account, two other social apps released at the same time as him had left the market. Toilet MT was taken down shortly after its release. Chatbao (the predecessor of Bullet SMS) announced the disbandment of the team more than a month after its release. In contrast, the life cycle of Duoxan’s software is much longer than the former two, but it is still difficult to find a market breakthrough, the so-called “iron-based WeChat and QQ, and other chat software of Liushui”.

01 Who can create the second WeChat?

Feilao and Duoshan belong to the social products of Byte. The main difference is that Feilao focuses on interest-based social networking and Duoshan focuses on the trendy video social networking at the time. Both softwares were launched in 2019, carrying ByteDance to explore the social field. different direction. Judging from the results, “universal” social networking based on text and pictures is still the mainstream, and interest and video social networking is currently not enough for the general public.

Can Metaverse save the social dream of ByteDance?

In addition to ByteDance, other vendors who covet WeChat and QQ social traffic have also tried to create a second WeChat. The main method is to develop new software or develop the chat function on the original platform. Feichao and Doxan belong to the former, Alipay Belongs to the latter.

Invariably, the reasons why social software such as Duoshan and Feichao have faded out of the market are all related to the various unique attributes of social software, the most important of which is the efficiency advantage of social software. After reaching a certain number of users, goods or platform services will usually gain scale advantages (increasing scale and reducing costs), but there is an exception to everything (this exception may not be small), and the most representative one is e-commerce.

As e-commerce platforms increase in the number of stores and the number of users, basic e-commerce services will face greater computing pressure. Therefore, major e-commerce companies such as Alibaba and Amazon are also big cloud computing companies, and they only have to do it themselves. Cloud computing can reduce costs as much as possible. Secondly, businesses are not happy to see a single e-commerce platform market share too high to avoid relying too much on a single e-commerce channel. On the contrary, social platforms have maximized economies of scale. The greater the number of users, the higher the communication efficiency of the platform, and the less users need to install other software of the same type. This is also one of the reasons for the decline of QQ Yuehuo.

The second is migration costs, including data costs and social communication costs. The essence of communication is the mutual transfer of information. The more information accumulated over time, the higher the cost of data migration for users. When you ask a friend around you, “Why don’t you delete and reinstall your WeChat account if it takes up more than a dozen GB of space”, he may reply to you: That’s all memories! As for the cost of social communication, it can be understood as “everyone’s choice.” In order to improve communication efficiency, users will choose apps that most people use to reduce online communication costs.

Can Metaverse save the social dream of ByteDance?

Because of these factors, those domestic social apps that can be developed outside of WeChat and QQ often have the attribute of “non-acquaintance social”, that is, newly registered users do not need to consider the migration cost, such as Momo, which focuses on socializing with strangers. , And Soul based on a personal interest map. Momo and Soul have avoided the social advantage of WeChat acquaintances, but at present, the market for non-acquaintances is far inferior to that of acquaintances. Momo has reached the ceiling of the industry to a certain extent.

Momo’s parent company Zhiwen Group’s financial report for the third quarter of this year showed that Momo’s monthly activity in September was 115.5 million, compared with 113.6 million in the same period last year. The total number of paying users for live broadcast services and value-added services was 12.2 million (including Tantan’s 2.9 million). It was 13.1 million in the same period last year. In contrast, QQ, which is often complained about the continuous decline in monthly activity, has reached nearly 600 million monthly activities. At present, there is not only a second WeChat in the domestic market, but even QQ cannot find a practical challenger. , But how could ByteDance, as the “App Factory”, give up its social dreams? Since Multi-Flash and Feichao have faded out of the market, then change to another way of thinking about social development.

02 Focusing on Douyin may not be a good way

The merger of the multi-flash account and the Douyin account is related to the attributes of the two platforms. Now multi-flash is more like the independence of the Douyin chat function. The multi-flash chat interface displays recently active Douyin friends, and the so-called “dynamic” function of friends is close to the “friends” interface of Douyin, which is a short video. Circle of friends. It may be due to the market conditions of Multi-Flash and the cost of user migration. Instead of letting Multi-Flash continue to be “unpopular”, it is better to directly merge into the Douyin system.

Speaking of the chat function, just judging by the richness of the chat function, multi-flash is not even as good as Douyin. After iterations of multiple versions, the chat function of Douyin has been fully developed. In addition to text, emoticons, pictures and videos, Douyin puts the voice input button on the first-level chat interface that is most easily triggered by users, just like WeChat. , And multi-flash hides the voice function in the extended menu.

The chat function of Douyin has reached the level of social apps, and there are functions of watching videos and singing together in the chat extension interface. In order to allow users to chat in Douyin content, the online status of friends will be displayed in the “message” interface of Douyin, reminding them in the form of green dots, just like the online status of QQ. The difference is that the offline avatars of QQ friends will be grayed out.

Can Metaverse save the social dream of ByteDance?

The chat function of Douyin is only one aspect, whether users will use it is another matter. The most difficult thing for platforms to expand chat functions across borders is to break the user’s impression of the “first attribute” of the platform. Each software has its own platform attributes. For example, Taobao and Pinduoduo are online shopping, are you hungry? Hemei Tuan Waimai is an instant delivery platform, Douyin and Kuaishou are short videos. The first attribute of the platform is related to the main business of the platform.

The first attribute of the platform is similar to the “primary effect” of psychology. The first impression between people will affect our judgment of each other, and it is difficult to change. Users view different software platforms in the same way. Between social software and social software, between non-social software (with chat function) and social software, the richness of the chat function does not play a significant role. The first attribute of the platform is easy. Allow the user to select the corresponding product.

In addition, when the user opens the App, the first content interface that the user sees will also deepen his impression of the first attribute of the platform. After Douyin and Kuaishou enter the software, it is a video stream, while WeChat and QQ It is the most recent chat interface.

In addition to short videos and chats, Douyin also has functions such as e-commerce live broadcasts and local life. The development of Douyin’s super app is the need for bytes to mine the value of private domain traffic, but the correlation between acquaintance chat social and short videos is not high. , Is more like a peripheral supporting function, even if you have more than 600 million months of live Douyin, it is difficult to rely on the special chat function to leverage the WeChat and QQ market.

03 Metaverse is the key point of the next generation instant messaging platform?

Wang Xiaochuan said in 2011: “Although Tencent has so many competitiveness, besides QQ, what I really appreciate is WeChat. This is a viable product that will bring Tencent into the next 10 years.” WeChat is still in an upswing period, and the number of users only exceeded 100 million in 2012. Now it seems that Wang Xiaochuan’s prediction is undoubtedly correct. WeChat has become Tencent’s core product.

The author believes that QQ and WeChat have completed a social relay, and WeChat is a broken product of QQ. The user base of QQ is relatively young and the software is rich in features. From a certain point of view, WeChat looks like a simplified version of QQ. Not only does it have far fewer functions than QQ, but it often takes a long time to add new features. The main reason may be WeChat. The user base is wider, and functions need to be simplified to lower the user’s threshold for use. The relay between QQ and WeChat is precisely to enclose middle-to-high-age users, expand the scope of social contacts with acquaintances, attract users’ friends and family members to one circle, and improve the platform. The irreplaceability.

The concept of Metaverse has been hyped up recently, and Metaverse+social is regarded as a new mode of socialization in the future. Metaverse’s subversion of traditional social interaction lies in the “digital immersive space”. The new digital space created with the help of technological means has the advantages of wider connection range, higher communication efficiency, and more realistic communication methods, changing the previous text or video In the communication mode, both parties can communicate and interact in immersive digital forms. Just as Zuckerberg demonstrated, the holographic digital form of communication breaks the barrier of the screen.

Can Metaverse save the social dream of ByteDance?

At the same time, the decentralized Metaverse can greatly expand the user’s social network and make the user’s social circle wider. From a more macro perspective, “connection” has always been one of the key words in the process of human history. Horse-drawn carriages, automobiles, and airplanes are the connections at the transportation level. The great geographical discoveries of the 15th to 17th centuries are cultural and geographical discoveries. Connection, including the current Internet, is driven by technology to communicate more flexibly and at lower costs. The process of connection is also the process of acquaintance between people. If the PC Internet and mobile Internet are the home fields of social platforms for acquaintances, then Metaverse may be the spring of social platforms for strangers.

However, the so-called Metaverse digital social form is only a prediction. The emergence of new technologies will theoretically bring new social forms. From fixed telephones, PCs to mobile Internet, WeChat has seized the development trend of smart phones. As for whether the next-generation technology terminal is AR/VR or not, it is difficult to say. The development of Metaverse will take at least 10 years. During this period, other domestic social platforms will hardly have a chance to succeed under the system of “smartphone and acquaintance socializing”. Just flash and fly chat, other platforms are likely to be the same. We can’t beat Wechat in the way of Wechat, but will only become a challenger of Wechat.

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