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Technology Trends: Who Will Be The Next Facebook?
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Technology Trends: Who Will Be The Next Facebook? - Executive Leadership Articles

Technology Trends: Who Will Be The Next Facebook?

Executive Leadership Articles

Technology Trends: Who Will Be The Next Facebook?

In June 2006, MySpace overtook Google as the most-visited website in the United States. By April 2008, it was itself surpassed by Facebook, and in May 2014, it was the 392ne most-visited website in America. At its peak, it employed 1600 people. Today, it employs about 200.

In the same way that technology itself—and the way the technology is used—is ever changing at unpredictable speed, the popularity of top websites is a fickle thing, sometimes incomprehensibly so. When Instagram and LinkedIn were purchased for astronomical sums, the news was a shock not just for their price tags, but because older users had never heard of Instagram and younger users, usually the taste-makers in this realm, had never heard of LinkedIn.

The tech blogs announce new social networks almost daily, and that’s not an exaggeration. The movement, judging by the number of new services, is toward mobile sharing via apps with no desktop interface, but there are still plenty of web-based networks trying either to carve out a piece of the social media real estate or to take over the Facebook-occupied landscape entirely. The vultures seem to be circling, as young people flee Facebook in search of the next thing their parents and teachers won’t understand or know about: teens’ use of Facebook is down ten percent over the past year.

There’s no way to know today which existing or yet-to-be-unveiled service is the next Facebook, but something has to be. Your strategy might be to save your resources and wait for new leaders to emerge, or it could be to jump in on every new thing, staking your claim before imitators or squatters reserve your namespace. One advantage to the former is that you don’t tie yourself too quickly to something that might be yesterday’s failure story (as when some publicly touted Virb as the next Facebook). Two advantages to the latter is less competition for space on the timeline and early connectivity with eager users building their networks.

Without recommending either approach, and without vouching for any of these new networks, we present a very small sample of some of the new services attempting to wriggle their way into mass consciousness or to gain critical mass. Will one of these be the next Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, or Facebook?

Eva:
A cloud-based video editing/sharing network. Still in alpha, with early invites available for Android users.

Secret:
The surprise mobile darling a year ago, it is reimaging itself as a text-based, anonymous chat with an emphasis on interactivity. You won’t know, necessarily, who you are trading messages with, but it’s likely to be someone in your contacts.

Sleepful:
Definitely a niche service, Sleepful is a social network for insomniacs, designed to counsel you through your insomnia (and provide interaction with other insomniacs who can help you) so that you will sleep more effectively. We were unable to get the website to load, which itself might be the therapy for sleeplessness.

Tsu:
A revenue-sharing social network similar to Facebook, Tsu shares its ad sales with users. The better your network reach is, the more you earn. With 1 million signups in five weeks, it’s getting a lot of buzz, but users complain about the absence of Facebook-like functionality, such as customized privacy settings and photos in comments.

Bebo:
Once a MySpace-like social network, Bebo re-emerged this month as a mobile, third-party chat app with customizable avatars that look like you (or whoever you wish to look like) and surprise graphics activated by hashtags. There’s even a prominent counter that shows you how many hashtags graphics you’ve discovered. Like WhatsApp and Line, it offers free messaging but only if your friends also use the app.

InLope :
An interest-based, location-based mobile sharing app that lets you know when you’re near something or someone interesting.

OpenSensors:
Another niche service, it’s a social network for your sensors. Share real-time sensor data (see our article on the Internet of Things) openly with the world, or use others’ data for your own projects. Don’t try to sign up in Chrome; we had to use another browser to make the initial sign-up interface respond.

Frilp:
Another location-based interest and sharing service.

Whisper:
Anonymous interaction with others, with the option of making yourself known if mutual chatters agree.

Heard:
Auto-curated conversation and sharing. Launch the app, then see what people are talking about. The service learns your interests based on your feedback and activity, then delivers relevant conversations, which you may drop into and out of, similar to interactions at a cocktail party.

Ello:
A direct reaction to Facebook, Ello seeks to create a social network with no data-sharing (or sales). There was early buzz, thanks to an invitation-only roll-out, but the interface is spare and visually unremarkable. Still, it’s early in this service’s life, and people find new things to complain about daily with Facebook’s privacy issues (real or imagined), so there seems to be a growing yearning for something like this, if you could just get everyone you’ve ever known from elementary school through your current job to come over with you.

It’s easy to dismiss the majority of these new services, rolled out almost on a daily basis, as certain future residents in the startup graveyard, but keep in mind that Facebook was a college-students-only service in its early days with no indication that it would someday be the subject of an Academy-Award-winning movie. If one of these services doesn’t replace the gigantic piece of our online lives that Facebook is today, it’s nearly certain that there’s one just around the corner that will, so the only question is where you’ll be standing when it takes off.

 

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Technology Trends: Who Will Be The Next Facebook? - Executive Leadership Articles

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