When someone says “social media” Facebook immediately springs to mind. With over 800 million active users, they are certainly leading the pack in social networking. Twitter is also gaining inroads as including “tweets” become common in news broadcasting. Tech giant Google also launched it's platform entitled Google+ to try to break into this space. In an age of increasingly short attention spans and consumers looking for the next best thing, what other networks might challenge Facebook in the future?
Find Your Path
Path is just over a year old but already has over 1 million users. The mobile only platform (Android and iPhone) says that it “...should provide you with a simple way to keep a journal, or “Path”, of your life on the go”.
Once you download the app you are presented with an absolutely stunning and simple user interface to quickly share details of your current life's path at any given moment. You can post thoughts, locations, music tracks you are listening to as well as including people you are with when you generate your content. Path even has a function to let people know when you are awake or sleeping. In addition, Path also has a great built-in camera so you can take and share photos directly within the app. If you already use Facebook, Twitter or Foursquare, Path lets you share your content to those networks simultaneously.
Path has a few unique features and some great potential. For example, you can only have a maximum of 150 contacts (or friends) within the app. Path has based this on some recent research by professor Robin Dunbar of Oxford University that shows we can only really culture 150 trusted relationships at any given time. So while Twitter is for the general public and Facebook has all your aunts and uncles, Path is looking for you to share with the people that really matter in your life.
Pineterest is a “virtual pinboard” of all your favourite things. While the site so far is in invite-only beta, it's traffic reached 421 million page views a month this October, up almost 2,000% from this June, overtaking popular craft sites like Etsy.com.
Pinterest let's you “pin” all of your favourite things, which you can organize into different subjects or “boards”. I could have a dream banjo board where I pin photos of banjos I would like to own, or one for clothes that catch my eye (or maybe things I want for Christmas!). Users can then follow other users or just specific boards that interest them. Users can also “re-pin” interesting content to their own boards. You can also comment on pinned items.
Pinterest has great potential as an organizing tool as well as a very unique social network. For example, if you were planning a wedding you and your wedding party could follow each other's boards where you would all post ideas for the wedding. Pinterest has a beautiful website to display you pins – but also has an iPhone app to pin things and photos on the go.
While neither of these apps are likely to overtake Facebook or Twitter, it is great to see how companies are innovating in this space and creating stunning niche networks.