By Brad Cohen
The most interesting discussions always beginwith the question: “
” The following is ahandful of tools, technologies and social networksthat are making headlines. Note that we attemptedto focus on platforms that offer signicantpotential for marketers. As a result, some of ourpersonal favorites – such as stylized photo-sharingnetworks like Instagram and picplz – regrettablydidn’t make the list.
Micro-blogging servicesliKe PosTerous and TuMblr
Posterous, like competitor Tumblr(see below), is a micro-blogging platform that allows usersto upload and publish content – text, photo, audio, video– via browser, email, or mobile app. What distinguishesPosterous is its ability to allow users to publish blog
FriendFeedlaunched in 2007 as a social networkingaggregator that connected a user’sproles across multiple social networksto display information in a single,Facebook-like feed. Facebook acquiredthe service in 2009. Today, FriendFeed.com receives about 270,000 uniquevisitors per month, but because it’s acontent / news aggregator, it shouldn’t be considered a priority social outpostfor marketers in the way that the“source” networks are.
Google Buzzis a social network that utilizes Google’sGmail interface and Google Proles.When launched in 2010 it was dubbed “aGoogle approach to sharing” andgenerated a great deal of media coverage.Signicant questions about privacy ledto lawsuits and complaints to the FederalTrade Commission. Though some issueshave been resolved, current speculationis that Google Buzz may be scrapped inthe near future.
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The popular photo andvideo sharing site launched out of Vancouver in 2004. Acquired by Yahoo! just one year later, Flickr grew into anonline home for more than 51 millionusers and 5 billion images. But asFacebook and mobile photo serviceslike Twitpic and Yfrog add options tothe photo-sharing market, Flickr hasseen a decline in their audience over thepast two years. The site is far from dead,however, as accounts like The OfcialWhite House Photostream continue todrive trafc to Flickr. In some ways, it’sreturned to the purest version of itself – that is, a hub for photographyenthusiasts. It never became thecorporate marketing “outpost” someoriginally imagined.
TheStumbleUpon toolbar is an in-browser“engine” that helps users discover newWebsites and rate them based on theirpreferences. The service was foundedin 2001 and grew to more than 2 millionusers before being sold to eBay in 2007.The founders have since reacquired thecompany and increased the service’suser base to nearly 13 million.StumbleUpon has surged ahead of Facebook to account for 43% of all socialmedia site referral trafc. Thecommunity remains prominent in theeld of social bookmarking (along withsites like Reddit and Digg).
Digg is the original socialnews Website. It allows users to submitand “vote up” stories that interest them.A darling of the early Web 2.0community, Digg repeatedly decidedagainst selling, preferring to remainindependent. Though it raisedadditional funding and releasednumerous new features, Digg hashemorrhaged users and talent,including founder and Valley superstarKevin Rose, who left in March 2011. Asservices like Twitter help usersconsume news more efciently, thisdownward trend is likely to continue.
Delicious, a social bookmarking Website, was founded in2003 and acquired by Yahoo! just twoyears later. Its easy interface andcloud-based approach to bookmarkingmade it one of the most popular onlineservices of its time. After considerabledrama surrounding its fate, Deliciouswas recently purchased and will becomepart of AVOS, an Internet venturestarted by YouTube founders ChadHurley and Steve Chen. It’s unclearwhat will become of Delicious, though ithas a sizable community pulling for it.April 2008. Later that year, thecompany introduced MySpaceMusic, driving new traffic to the site.By 2011, however, MySpace had laidoff more than half of its workforceand has since dropped from a top 10site in the Alexa rankings down to#77. At the time of this writing, NewsCorp. appears to be trying to sellMySpace for a fraction of its originalpurchase price.
Launched in January2005, Bebo was particularly popularoutside of America and appealed to ayounger audience. The social networkhoped to distinguish itself fromrival social networks through itsdevelopment of original content.AOL acquired Bebo in March 2008for $850 million, but sold it for lessthan $10 million just two years later.Since their purchase, CriterionCapital Partners has revampedand re-launched Bebo withnew features.
GoogleWave is – err, was – a real-timecommunication and collaborationplatform that launched in May 2009. Aninvitation-only roll-out led to highdemand, with some users auctioning off their invitations. Once the initial buzzdissipated, users were slow to adopt theservice and Google eventually stoppeddeveloping Wave, citing a lack of interest. In late 2010, Google Wavemoved into the open source ApacheSoftware Foundation’s incubator and itwas renamed Apache Wave.
MySpace wasfounded in 2004 and grew into one of the world’s largest social networks.Less than a year after its launch,MySpace had more than 5 millionmembers and, as a result of its(ephemeral) dominance, waspurchased by News Corp. in 2006 for$580 million. MySpace remained thelargest social network in Americauntil being overtaken by Facebook in
By Jesse Thomas
Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitterweren’t always the social mediatrinity. Any number of networkspaved the way for their success.Here’s the latest on a fewfoundational platforms.
is JESS3’s founder,CEO and executivecreative director. He ensures that the highest levels of excellence and innovation go intoevery JESS3 project and is considered one of the pioneersin the eld of social media datavisualization. Jesseregularly shares hisinsights at his Forbes blog .
is thedirector of strategyat JESS3. He hasexperiencedesigning strategiesthat utilize social media to leverageand coordinateassets across anenterprise,campaign, or initiative and creating social objects that resonatewithin a target community whileconveying messagesthat are core tobrand initiatives. He has worked with Intel, Adobe, IBM and Nestle.