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If Facebook or Twitter vanish in the next 12 months, we’ll be as surprised as anyone but there are newcomers hitting the social media scene every month. Here are a few to watch in 2015.
People are now accustomed to being part of more than one social network. LinkedIn has trained us to separate work and play, Twitter split off chatting and Pinterest has taken over the photo sharing world. As more and more sites accept Facebook and Google logins, it’s becoming ever easier for niche sites to blossom and grow. While sites like Ravelry and Fitocracy have been creating targeted communities for years, new ones are popping up almost daily. Look out for new networks in your particular market, and you may have the chance to be a big fish in a small pond.
Part of a backlash against the full-disclosure side of sites like Facebook, new apps like YikYak and Secret let users share their secrets or what they had for breakfast, without having their real name and photo attached. While their growth is an understandable trend, it’s bad news for business – after all, if your followers don’t know who you are, how will they contact you outside the app? The lack of consequences can also release inhibitions, leading people to type vitriol they would never say.
Another reaction against Facebook ads and sponsored Tweets, Ello retains the ‘this is me’ aspect of Facebook, but strips away the advertising and marketing. As this is the profitable side of Facebook, it’ll be interesting to see whether the site survives 2015.
Creating a good video is down to one of two things: hard graft or serendipity. Nonetheless, home-made videos are rising in popularity, with people using their phone to record everything from cake baking to bungee jumping. Vine provides a way to share the results, and to discuss them. It’s another mobile-friendly platform, and is set to do well in 2015. For companies creating videos, Vine is another network worth tapping.
Despite a few bumps in the road in 2014, Snapchat’s future is looking rosy. A purely mobile platform, it encourages users to share pictures and chat with friends. Unusually, all content uploaded to Snapchat is deleted from their servers once it has been viewed, so it’s up to the user to make sure they save anything they want to keep. A poplar choice for the selfie generation, it’s just opened up advertising but its one-on-one style makes it a tricky nut to crack for business users.
Trying to find the sweet spot between Twitter’s 140 characters and a full-length novel, Medium opened its medium-length publishing platform to the world at the end of 2013. Over 2014, the volume of content on the site has grown exponentially, and it’s now a force to be reckoned with. For businesses, it’s a good platform to share deep knowledge or expertise, but don’t expect a quick return if you do.