Social media today is still dominated by giant platforms like Facebook, X, and YouTube. But Noam Bardin, Founder and CEO of new social media company Post News — and former CEO of the popular traffic app, Waze — believes the next generation of social media will come not from replicating these behemoths, but from startups focused on specific unbundled use cases.
In Post’s case, it’s news discovery and sharing. Noam joined me on the latest episode of The Next Great Thing podcast to explain how Post is on a mission to change the way we access and consume fact-based journalism by combating the toxic dis/misinformation and echo chambers that have plagued social media for far too long. Post wants to reshape the media landscape by fairly rewarding publishers, journalists, and creators with micropayments, instead of ads or subscriptions. The idea is that this model is a win for users, publishers, and society alike — it encourages civil and constructive debate, sidesteps publisher paywalls but pays them well, and avoids incentivizing engagement-driven ad revenue (often fueled by false stories and toxic clickbait) over what’s best for users and society.
One great thing I learned: Narrow beats wide in the new era of social media.
Think about Craigslist, whose simple homepage lists services like housing, jobs, and community announcements. Many of those categories have since become unbundled — forming massive companies in their own right, like Airbnb for housing, LinkedIn for jobs, and Nextdoor for neighborhood updates. Noam sees the next era of social media similarly. Platforms like X try ot be everything to everyone — Elon Musk has even called X an “everything app” — but their individual use cases could be better served by focused social startups. For example, Noam says Facebook Groups on its own could be a Fortune 500 business.
TikTok is a great example of The Great Social Unbundling in action. A decade ago, it would have seemed improbable that a startup could beat YouTube in short-form video. But, by narrowly focusing on one use case, TikTok found explosive success.
“If you would have told me 10 years ago that someone's going to create short-form video without the rest of YouTube and be successful, I would never have believed it.” Noam says. “I would have been like, ‘Come on, YouTube is going to kill them!’ But you can. If you build the right experience with a very intentional mission, you can do amazing things.”
Noam thinks the everything app model may work in China, but it has largely failed in the West. In fact, he says, the "everything app" is already here (and, no, it’s not X). It's your smartphone, with different apps for every specific function you need. Social media can evolve the same way.
Rather than reproduce the entire X or Facebook or YouTube experience, new social platforms are zeroing in on improving one aspect of the user experience — in Post’s case, access to fact-based journalism and information sharing. And the shift away from news that seems to be happening right now on social might be to Post’s benefit; news is something that X and even newcomer Threads appear to be steering away from.
The Great Social Unbundling has only just begun. By having a clear, narrow mission and not trying to be all things to all people, this is an opportunity for startups to create focused user experiences that may even disrupt the social media OGs. Rather than one-size-fits-all networks, expect a wave of social apps purpose-built for specific user needs, use cases, and audiences. Noam’s Post aims to lead the way.
What do you think? Is The Great Social Unbundling something you’re thinking about or working on? I want to hear about it.
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