Social media sites are a place of constant turmoil. Even giants like Facebook are not immune against the ever changing preferences of their users. Taking a peek at several newly emerging social networks can reveal just how our online social interaction will look in 2016 and onward. Rather than including every site out there, I have decided to focus on just 8 social media sites that show the most promise to grow into something big.
Top Social Media sites to lookout for in 2016
Path is a privacy-focused social networking site from San Francisco with a long-term vision to create a simple, high-quality experience that would not be plagued with concerns about data ownership and security. It launched in November 2010 and was acquired earlier this year by a South Korean internet company called Daum Kakao.
The whole concept being this site is centered on the idea that we are able to have only so many meaningful relationships in our lives. While somebody may easily have more than thousand Facebook friends or Twitter followers, the chances that those people will be close to that person are very slim. Path acknowledges that and limits the maximum friend count to 150 friends. These should, ideally, be only those who you share the most with. You can then select if you also want to send your message to other social networks. As such, Path is designed to coexist alongside current social networks and be the go-to place for truly meaningful connections and friendships.
2. Yik Yak
Yik Yak is a social media smartphone app that lets you send anonymous messages to people in your close proximity. These messages are shared with all users who are within a 5-mile radius and these users can then vote and rank them by popularity. It was created in 2013 by two college students, who have since then been building the application and making sure it grows into some great.
Yik Yak is used mostly by college students on campuses since they present the ideal place where a very high number of people who share the same interests gather. Although very young, this social network is not without its share of controversy. Some campuses decided to ban the app because of cyberbullying and Yik Yak was found to censor messages about its competitors.
There is probably only a small chance that Yik Yak will erupt into something large. It is, however, a good indicator of how users are starting to prefer interaction with a smaller groups of people over large, anonymous crowds.
Ello was launched to the general public just a year ago and has since then seen both high praise and harsh criticism. The network puts a strong emphasis on simplicity, minimalistic design, and refusal to use ads for monetization purposes. It tries to provide a more reasonable alternative to major social networks by promising to never sell user data and giving users the freedom to use any name they want – be it real or fake.
So far, Ello mainly appeals to designers and technology enthusiasts, which shows that there is definitely a room for smaller and more focused social circles.
LINE is an instant messaging app for mobile devices and personal computers, with more than 600 million users worldwide. The app has many different features with personal and group chats being the most important.
LINE fundamentally understands that communication is the key to any social platform. Making the act of communicating with other people fun and effortless is one of the main things that brought it its success. Users can make free voice and video calls, send over 10,000 different stickers and emoticons, and even follow celebrities or create their own Timeline with text, photos, and videos.
Periscope is a completely new social experience that lets users see things as they are happening through the eyes of another person anywhere on this planet. Anybody can download the app and start a live stream with others joining in, commenting, and sending hearts. Periscope was acquired by Twitter in 2015 for less than $100 million.
The experience of being able to instantly connect to any place in the world and watch current events unfold without any delay is simply astonishing. Services like Periscope will without any doubt play a very important role in how we get our news in the future. It is possible that live streaming is going to become a feature of a much larger and more widespread social network.
Wanelo is a shopping aggregate that lets users select products from over 300,000 stores. All content is posted and curated by users themselves which adds a new social dimension that is not present in many other online stores. The site mainly appeals to women, who are generally much more likely to shop just for fun than man.
With 90% of Wanelo’s users being women, it demonstrates that we are very far away from days where the internet was dominated by a male presence. It also shows that mobile is not only relevant but that it can be the main target platform for social network site since 85% of traffic is coming from various mobile devices. We are living in the age where it is more viable to create a business around helping people find good stores than it is to create the store itself.
This is another social network site that is centered on limited user interaction (are you seeing the trend?). The main feature/limitation is that users share just a single link every day. The obvious consequences are that people pay much closer attention to what they are sharing and thus the overall quality of content raises dramatically.
It can be seen as a sort of antidote to the brainless link spamming we observe on Facebook and Twitter. This has the potential to become an extremely attractive place to get the hottest news without experiencing an information overload.
Tsu in very similar to another site on this list, Ello. This social network service promises that users will always maintain the ownership of all their data and content they post. Unlike Ello, Tsu doesn’t object to profiting out of its content. The network promises to share 90% of all revenue with their users as a form of compensation. According to Tsu CEO Sebastian Sobczak, the long-term plan is to let users use this revenue to buy products from other vendors and, at least in part, become a sort of social shopping network.
So what will be the next big thing in Social Media?
It seems that the focus is on smaller and more focused social media experiences that pay much more attention to privacy and data ownership. We no longer want to limit all our online social interaction to a single site. The idea that sites like Facebook are going to act as our global social identity is definitely passé.
Image Source: FredCavazza