In recent times we’ve seen social media grow exponentially fast. Thanks to quick Internet adoption and the advancement of mobile technologies, hundreds of millions of people are now part of social networks like Facebook and Twitter. These two sites in particular have enjoyed an incredible amount of attention, but we must understand that they form but a part of a continually evolving social media landscape.
That’s why it’s important to take a wider perspective and check out which new social media and social networking sites may soon become the Internet’s new darling.
Foursquare is a location-based social networking site that’s lately been getting a tremendous amount of hype. A number of its features are parallel to Twitter (like the ability to post quick status updates wherever you are), but Foursquare sets itself apart by encouraging – and rewarding – users to explore their own cities.
Here’s how it works: users “check in” by posting updates through a messaging service. Foursquare then combines this information with its friend-finder feature and social city guide elements to reward the most passionate explorers and guide other users as they explore their cities. Users earn points, win “mayorships”, and unlock badges for trying new places and revisiting old favorites. The more frequently users check in, the better the chances they have for earning rewards. If a Foursquare user, for example, shows his phone at the cashier of a local cafe and proves through Foursquare that he’s a loyal patron of the place, or is the “mayor” of that part of the neighborhood, he may be entitled to rewards, like an instant free drink or a free cheesecake.
Originally launched as an iPhone application, Foursquare is like a virtual mobile game that dynamically encourages user participation. Unlike Twitter, a status update doesn’t just serve as a status update. It’s an essential component of Foursquare’s innovative social mechanics.
Remember blogging? It’s not quite how it once was. Tumblr came in and introduced short-form blogging – with “like” and “reblogging” features – and now, with Posterous, posting something on the Web has reached new levels of ease. Lakeshore Branding’s Brandon Zeman recently gave Posterous a look and explored many of the platform’s many features, such as its easy collaboration options, the ability to bookmark and share anything on the Web, and the the ability to “autopost” and share across a number of social media sites.
Posting on Posterous is done primarily via E-mail, which is another thing that makes it stand out. New features are being added to improve post-editing tools. We think this neat blogging platform will grow even bigger in the very near future.
Funny name, sure, but the way Hot Potato works, it seems serious enough about setting itself apart from other social networks. There something that this up-and-coming application does that Facebook and Twitter cannot do, and that’s to create conversations based on a location or a specific live event.
Specifically, Hot Potato lets users talk about and discuss the same events they’re at by adding friends and inviting other users to join an event- or location-focused conversation. Moreover, Hot Potato users can add upcoming events to their calendar, create their own events, swap notes, ask questions, and share photos taken during a particular event or at a specific location.
Conversations in Hot Potato take place within public or private chatrooms. The great thing about it is that you don’t get overwhelmed with unrelated status updates and comments: people are sharing their thoughts on one common subject. The application is free for iPhone, but Hot Potato is also available through its Web site as a desktop application.
California-based startup 12seconds was built originally as a video community that was going to be closely integrated with Twitter, but its founders have a new (and simpler) idea: make it the best place online for video status updates. It’s still far from having its own unique focus, but 12seconds’ potential is great, especially as mobile video technology continues to break new ground.
If Twitter has a 140-character limit, 12seconds has a limit of, well, 12 seconds for each video update. Users can record from their webcams and mobile phones or send updates via E-mail. 12seconds makes it pretty easy for users to share their short video clips across social media sites like Twitter and Facebook. Widgets and embedding codes, meanwhile, are available for users who want to share their 12-second video updates on blogs, MySpace, and Tumblr. So everything’s “tweetable” and “embeddable” and 12 seconds long, and everything’s poised for a relaunch soon. That’s why more than a few people are watching the space at 12seconds.