Over the years we’ve signed up to and lived our lives on various social media platforms – from Faceparty and MySpace to Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram and Pinterest. There are now more than a billion people using social networking websites around the world, all utilising the platforms for a range of different activities.
Social networking sites are constantly growing and changing – hands up who still has an unused MySpace profile floating around in the ether. Innovative technology, smart-phone apps and new trends mean users are inclined to move with the times, jumping from one platform to the next with incredibly frequency – although Facebook has now maintained its position at the top for many years. Finding out what the next big thing will be requires us to assess how people are using social networking sites in the present.
What do people use social networks for?
What you use a social network for depends largely upon your circumstances and the site you’re using. Many people have multiple profiles across different platforms, which they use for marketing, job-seeking, recruitment, promoting their business and its products and services, uploading images or simply telling everyone what they had for lunch.
Here’s a couple of the social media sector’s current big players and what they are used for:
Facebook is used for uploading images, marketing businesses, connecting with old school friends and work colleagues, and documenting your every single move. Facebook claims to have 901 million active users on the website, making it the biggest social network in the world.
Twitter has over 200 million users and still counting. This site allows you to update your status, telling the world brief snippets of your life in just 140 characters. This is used by many different bloggers, organisations and businesses to share links and connect with readers or customers online.
With 150 million users, LinkedIn is a big player, although it is used mostly for work reasons – for example, headhunting, job-seeking, and finding new business opportunities are three things you might use the site for.
Some of the new, upcoming social networking sites allow you to display information in different ways. Pinterest, for example, is a relatively recent addition to the world of social networking, which enables users to collect images from around the web and in their daily lives.
While Facebook maintains its position as a cover-all-bases social media site, newer platforms tend to cater for niche requirements. Instagram and Pinterest are largely image-based, for example.
Github has been earmarked by some as the next big social media site – in fact, with its recent $100million dollar investment from Andreessen Horowitz, it has been more than earmarked. This is coined as a platform for programmers to collaborate and develop software quickly and efficiently. The aim is to allow people in similar industries to connect and work together, rather than just interacting with “friends”.
What seems certain is that the next big social networking site isn’t in the running to outdo Facebook. Rather, it seems more likely these platforms will find a way to integrate with the social media mammoth and run happily run alongside each other, catering to their own niche audiences.
This article was written by Rachel Hurley who writes for Appliances Online When she isn’t trawling the web for next big social media phenomenon she enjoys grabbing a cold beer and relaxing on the couch. Follow her on Twitter @Rachel_Hurley23.