Social media has already created much disruption, and it has also led to many very innovative new applications and services. Unlike the traditional media, where printing presses and broadcasting facilities are limited to a few media barons, anybody can create a blog, a wiki or a website and the multiplier effect of these innovations will therefore be phenomenal.
While Facebook has managed to capture the largest share of the market in recent years, the industry is not sitting still and new social networks are emerging that aim to offer something different.
Pinterest is a rising social media star with over 10 million users in 2012. Considered to be very popular amongst female users, it is a virtual pin-board which allows users to pin items of interest to share with others on topics ranging from craft projects, recipes, inspirational photos and quotes etc. Millions of new items are “pinned” each week.
Pinterest was established by a group of investors and entrepreneurs and there is speculation that one way forward for the site would be to link the items of interest to an e-commerce platform which would allow the user to not only browse but also buy the items they like.
In June 2011 Google began a trial of Google , a social networking initiative which allows for more discretion when sharing personal information with online contacts. It also provides an integrated service for communicating in different ways including a “hangout” service which allows for video chat and “huddle”, a group messaging service. It will be closely watched to see if Google’s latest social networking attempt is a success given the disappointment of Google Buzz.
In September 2010 another service called eegoes was launched; it differentiates itself from other social networks by organising the information flowing through the social network in a systematic way. By using tags and categories, eegoes hopes to provide users with information that is more tailored to their needs.
Taking this concept a step further, social networks have also been developed for specific purposes. Personal finance is just one area where social network based on crowdsourcing have emerged. Put simply, crowdsourcing is the term used for a service that allows users to pool their collective knowledge.
One example includes Investor Village, which provides a forum for investors to exchange information on investment strategies and tools. Covestor, founded in 2006, allows users to mirror the strategies of successful investors.
It is thought that it won’t be long until the likes of Facebook and Google incorporate elements of new sites like Pinterest into their sites. While they are at it they might also want to have a look at the social photo clipping site Fancy, which has is also gaining consumer and media interest.
Kylie Wansink is the senior analyst, global markets at BuddeComm.