“If you look at people who are doing interesting work, they tend to be building inside these platforms like Facebook and finding ways to do interesting work in there,” he says. “For instance, journalists. Instant Articles is a really great way for stories to be told. There is some really interesting stuff being done with live video—there's an interesting canvas for people to tell really authentic stories in an interesting way.”
Creativity is abundantly available through social media tools, Lax says, which also allow for more of a cookie-cutter approach online presence development than building a website, which he called “placing a pixel on a screen and choosing the perfect font.”
Lax says the switch to social feels similar to when print designers were told they needed to start making website designs. There was some initial resistance, but professionals eventually came around. Now, Lax believes people will have to move their time and energy toward creating pages on social media platforms.
“The one thing about the web is that it is such a large system that it will take a long time for that energy to unwind, but when you look at the data, you can definitely see the move to mobile and that will continue,” he says. “But none of these things go away. People still make vinyl records.”
Davia Temin wrote in 2014 that companies shouldn’t “kill off” websites, but they should consider using them as a hub for social media pages. The real question, she says, is not whether a company should kill off its website, but how it can cohesively bring together a social media presence. She suggests using “social media company pages as spokes, exploiting each platform for its unique benefits and audience.”
Small Business Trends notes there are pros and cons of both social media and websites. Social media is quick, low-cost and engaging, but also has limited design and a lack of ownership. On the other hand, websites allow for full control, better credibility and more availability on the positive side, but they take more marketing effort, maintenance and increased complexity.