What We Can Learn From the Social Networks of Tomorrow

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The internet is a rapidly changing landscape. Although Facebook and Twitter are relatively old compared to most other forms of social media, their downfall has been predicted by many. There are several characteristics of newer social media sites that are expected to determine social media success in 2015:

  • Simplicity: Many users are turning towards simplistic, stripped-down user interfaces when looking for new social media networks, a fact that is starting to hurt sites with cluttered profile-views like Facebook.
  • Mobile-oriented: A growing number of people are using smartphones for their sole connection to the internet. Developing an app better-suited for phone users is a big advantage for new networks.
  • Analytics: Instead of relying on the amount of data collected, how social networks analyze and use data is going to make an enormous difference on the amount of resources and attention a social media site will receive.

Here are examples of how a few social networks expected to make it onto the scene this upcoming year.

Ello

According to its manifesto, Ello is all about being ad-free. Because other social networks track enormous amounts of user data for advertising purposes, Ello claims to avoid this altogether.

How It’s Unique:

  • Ello boasts a super-minimalist, easy to use design.
  • Ello does collect some data for non-advertising purposes, but there is the option to opt-out.

What We Can Expect:

Although it has the bare-bones look and simple interface expected to be a hit this upcoming year, its lack of data collection (although admirable) and advertising could render it less resourceful and less competitive than other sites in 2015. Although the site claims to be gaining users, it’s still much too small to gain traction soon.

Line

Line is a free text, voice and video message app that allows for the creation of avatars and an overwhelming amount of available stickers– 10,000 to be precise. It’s the belief of this network that stickers and emoticons allow for more emotional and personal communication by text.

How It’s Unique:

  • Thousands of available stickers and emoticons.
  • Available for smartphones and computers.

What We Can Expect:

The most widely anticipated social network on this list, Line is expected to make a huge entrance in the American social media market in next year. Its images-plus-messaging would make certain kinds of content, such as QR codes, possibly see a resurgence in relevance. Many people have already predicted that its value will skyrocket.

Quora

Quora’s official mission is to “share and grow the world’s knowledge.” Users can choose from more than 400,000 different topics and blog about their knowledge of the subject. They can also answer questions asked by other users.

How It’s Unique:

  • Interesting mix of social media and user-created wikis.
  • Platform allows for blog-style content writing, but in smaller packages similar to a Facebook or Twitter post.

What We Can Expect:

Although Quora has several of the trendy aspects of new social networks, it’s difficult to say how this one will fare. The interface looks clunky and similar to Facebook, but the originality of the idea could make it a big contender in 2015.

Medium

Medium is a blog-hosting platform designed to cultivate small-scale journalism. Created by the founders of Twitter, it allows for more characters, but relies on smaller posts than a typical blog. It’s been described as “part publication, part platform.

How It’s Unique:

  • Posts are sorted according to topic, not by users.
  • Allows for easy to write, shorter blogs.

What We Can Expect:

Because social media is moving away from in-depth, time consuming posts to simpler models, Medium may have a difficult time competing in the current social media environment. Some users have also claimed that platform is easy to use, but that the entire network lacks direction and focus. Although the idea is interesting, this network will likely have a hard time next year.

Snapchat

Perhaps the most popular of the up-and-coming social networks, Snapchat has recently come into competition with other popular photo-sharing sites like Facebook and Instagram. Up from 60 million snaps sent per day in February, 2013, users sent 700 million per day by May, 2014.

How It’s Unique:

  • Unlike other sites, the photos (“snaps”) on Snapchat can only be viewed for up to 10 seconds, at which point they are deleted.
  • Recently introduced is “Snapcash,” which allows users to send peer-to-peer payments.

What We Can Expect:

Snapchat’s recent growth has surprised nearly everyone following social media, and its simple, mobile-oriented platform will probably allow it to continue expanding in 2015.

Only time will tell which of these (if any) will go viral in 2015, but the face of social media is changing. The days of the complete user profile and time-consuming posts and picture uploads are ending, and the future lies in shorter, user-posted content.

Owen Andrew is a tech writer and multimedia enthusiast based in Southern California who has spent several years writing for publications both in print and on the web. When he’s not writing or editing the work of his close peers, he enjoys attending EDM concerts, hanging with his children and watching terrible movies.

Image courtesy of Shutterstock.

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