Facebook is the original social network and serves many purposes. It’s not going to be replaced or go away, at least any time soon. From catching up on last weekend’s antics, to stalking ex boyfriends and girlfriends, to sharing pictures of your dog, to announcing new relationship statuses, to telling the world you need to clip your baby’s toenails, Facebook certainly has its place. It’s the perfect place for over-sharing.
Recently, niche social networks have become very popular, not replacing Facebook (as Facebook replaced MySpace), but used for a specific purpose, whether it’s business, informational or creative, that Facebook just doesn’t serve. These social networks work along with your Facebook account already. While there are certainly more than ten social networks, here are ten that are useful for most people.
Blinked is a new social networking site, created by luxury digital media pioneer Juli Benlevi-Zeff. A Blink is a recommendation. You can Blink just about anything including restaurants, events, and stores, as well as specific items like your favorite cabernet, Diane Von Furstenberg’s newest wrap dress and the best long lasting pink lipgloss. You can even blink specific people like makeup artists, estheticians, personal trainers, interior designers, event planners, etc. One unique feature of the mobile site is the Locate Button, which will show you all the Blinks within your physical location. This will also be a feature of the app, which will come out in a few weeks. Another unique feature of the site is the Ask or Tell button, where you can ask the entire network a question, such as if anyone knows a good nanny in New York City or where the best cupcakes are in Chicago. Unlike Facebook, following isn’t mutually exclusive, so you can add anyone who you would like and only see recommendations in your newsfeed from trendsetters you know and trust.
Tumblr is a hybrid social network and blogging platform. On Tumblr, users don’t add friends, blogs follow other blogs. After logging in, the “newsfeed” consists of the latest entires of followed blogs. Tumblr allows you to easily get your posts out and by allowing re-posting with just one click, so your posts have a much greater chance of getting out to a larger group of people and going viral. In 2013, Yahoo acquired Tumblr for $1.1 billion, but has Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer who has promised “not to screw it up.” Many celebrities have jumped on the Tumblr bandwagon, including Lady Gaga, John Mayer and Alicia Keys.
Remember cutting up pictures of your favorite things from magazines and then sticking them on a bulletin board with thumbtacks? Pinterest is the internet version of that. On Pinterest, users create different boards with “pins” or images. It’s a fun way for people to individually organize images and ideas. Boards can be about anything from wedding ideas, to summer recipes and even cute kitten memes. It’s also a great medium for businesses to connect with their customers, especially small businesses, like interior designers and event planners, to share their portfolios. Pinterest is not so much about social networking, but connecting ideas through visual discovery. Celebrities who have been pinterested in the site, include Bethenny Frankel, Jessica Alba, Paris Hilton and even the First Lady, Michelle Obama.
Meetup isn’t so much of an online social network as an offline one. There are Meetup groups for almost anything you could be interested in from groups for business networking, to new mothers, Corgi owners and co-ed indoor soccer players. It also works in conjunction with Facebook, so you can check out which of your Facebook friends are also involved in Meetup groups. While Facebook is all about the people you know, Meetup is all about the people you don’t know, yet. Meetup allows users to try new things, meet new people and cultivate new relationships.
Twitter is a microblogging and social media platform hybrid. Tweets can be categorized with a hashtag (#), allowing everyone in the network to find your tweets by category. Twitter has also revolutionized the way public figures interact with their fans because anyone can contact anyone else with a Twitter account message. Almost every celebrity has a Twitter account from Justin Bieber, to Neil DeGrasse Tyson to Barack Obama and Seth Rogen. Celebrity news can live and die by Twitter. Twitter is so popular, Comedy Central even has a Twitter-based gameshow, @midnight, hosted by Chris Hardwick. It also goes without saying that Twitter has also had a large effect on the marketing of virtually every type of product sold. Unlike Facebook, adding friends isn’t mutually exclusive, so while Aunt Sally can favorite all the pictures of your new baby, you don’t have to see any pictures of her baby, Mr. Whiskers. Please follow us on Twitter @TheRichest_com.
Instagram is the ultimate photo and video sharing app and social network. When it was first introduced in 2010, Instagram was first primarily known as an app with photo filters to enhance iPhone photos. Pictures just look more interesting when Instagram filters are applied. While other sites have followed suit with their own filters, no other photo-sharing site has had an equal impact. In 2012, Facebook acquired Instagram for approximately one billion dollars. However, it is still run by the original developers. Instagram is especially popular with celebrities including supermodel Gisele, Jessica Biel, Jimmy Fallon and Rihanna.
SoundCloud is not just a social network, but also an audio distribution platform for artists and fans alike. SoundCloud allows users to stream music from established as well as emerging artists. While this sounds (no pun intended) a lot like what the re-launched MySpace was supposed to be, it’s because it does. However, SoundCloud has dominated over MySpace for one main reason (with the exception of MySpace’s loss of cool factor, despite Justin Timberlake’s‘s involvement): Streams on SoundCloud have individual URLs, thus they have the ability to be shared and embedded. The same cannot be said for MySpace. Users can also create and share playlists throughout the network. However, SoundCloud isn’t just limited to music, comedy clips and podcasts are also distributed via site.
Owned by Twitter, Vine is like YouTube for people with short attention spans. A Vine is a six second long video, created within the app. The camera only records when the screen is being touched, allowing for easy editing on the spot and creating stop motion effects. Celebrities including Eric Stonestreet, Taylor Swift and Jimmy Fallon are all on Vine. Vine is a good way to social network if you like to make very short films, and a great way to keep yourself entertained, if you like to watch them.
While many people cringe when they receive an email requesting to connect on LinkedIn, there isn’t a parallel website that has the same niche. LinkedIn tries to take the “social” out of social networking, in a good way. While most people try to avoid social networking with professional acquaintances and colleagues because you never know when your friends are going to tag your not-so-professional pictures from last weekend’s party, LinkedIn allows users to separate business and pleasure. Launched in 2003, it was primarily a site for resume posting, but that feature was eliminated in 2012. Instead, users fill out a profile. For those looking to make professional connections only and potentially made and receive introductions in real life, LinkedIn is a far better place to accomplish this than Facebook.
Biz Stone and Ev Williams, who founded Twitter, founded Medium in 2012. Medium is a blogging platform consisting of paid and unpaid contributors. Up and coming writer Chanel Gold uses Medium and explains the niche of the platform perfectly: “Medium is a great space for people who want to share ideas, information, and awe-inspiring stories. Everyone has a story to share, and Medium offers a venue for these stories to be heard. That sort of collective sharing is what the internet needs and has really lacked until recently.” There are several, very well-known journalists on Medium including David Sheff, David Carr and John DeVore. Through an algorithm as well as editorial curation, posts get spread through the internet, allowing anyone with something to say, as long as they have a Twitter handle, the chance to have their words read and posted to other sites such as The Huffington Post.
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