Social Media has made leaps and bounds in past year and thanks to Compete.com we can see who did better than others and why.
Back in September of 2006 Facebook opened it’s platform for all and has nearly tripled its user database. Along with writing it’s own ad server technology, which attracted the likes of Microsoft, they have also offered users all over the world to connect with people in a fun and less obtrusive way than MySpace (Seriously, no one really wants to hear what song you are into at the moment so please turn off auto play!).
Linkedin, the Facebook for the business world, has been making strides lately to pick up the pace in the social network arena but as we see in the graph below they have quite a lot of catchup to do before they get anywhere near the worst looking social network site. Yes I am talking about MySpace, the annoying, ugly redheaded step child that simply outpaces everyone. Their numbers are a little flat the last six months but their foray into the mobile world next year should help them out.
Simply put Flickr is the number one social online photo sharing site. I am a frequent user and it is indexed by the search engines regularly. The shear power of their software combined with savvy users has pushed Flickr to the top. Google’s Picasa is also an excellent option but nothing compares to Flickr. Owned by Yahoo! Flickr has had search marketing in its plans from the start. Users are given the ability to add tags to images which makes it easier for onsite searches and web searches. Users and businesses can also set up their own groups and have other users share photos like the Houston Zoo has done. They’ve invited anyone who takes a photo at the zoo to share them online with other users. This is free, grass-roots marketing that lets pays off in more ways than one.
Twitter and Pownce are online brain dumps or Micro Blogging sites. They are a great way to let your friends know where you are or what you are up to at any given time. Although they are web based you can receive email or text notifications. As we see in the graph below Twitter has taken off over the last year. Part of this is due to its coming out party at SXSW-Interactive this past March. Twitter was a new technology to most of the uber-geeks in attendance at the conference but with its ease of use and good marketing it started to take off. Twitter allows only 140 characters per message so if you are long-winded it might not be for you. Pownce laid dormant for the first part of the year while they prepared for their ‘invite only’ release in the summer. Although it is a better platform in many ways it still hasn’t been adapted as wide spread as Twitter has.
If you’re a blogger then the names above are familiar to you. Two of them, WordPress & Blogger are free blogging sites and Typepad is a paid service. As we see in the graph below the free ones are doing much better in usage than Typepad. Blogger, owned by Google is the most easily accessible blogging tool out there for people who are new to blogging. It is easy to set up, free to host and offers limited customization. WordPress is also a free tool, free to host and offers customization as well. What sets WordPress apart is that you can upload the software to your own server for free (hosting charges may apply) and customize your blog however you want. This works well with branding, in this situation you can declare your own URL such as https://blog.companyname.com. With the free hosted solution you cannot do this. Typepad is a paid service, although virtually inexpensive, that allows you to customize your blog and URL however you like.
Online file sharing has taken off this year, more so in the second half. Slideshare and Scribd are two of the top online document sharing sites. Slideshare seemed to get the most attention around these parts for it ease of use in sharing PowerPoint presentations but Scribd’s ability to accept a wider array of uploads including Word Docs, HTML, Images and Open Office to name a few has positioned itself way ahead of its competitor. Both sites give the user the ability to upload their documents and then provide them with an embed code which will let you place the presentations on any site or blog. Clearly usability is a big reason why these sites are becoming more and more prominent
Social Media Soup
Social Media had
it’s coming out party this year and greater things abound in 2008. Usability and marketing are going to be the key components to launching a new social service. There simply are too many and that is a good thing. Competition breeds innovation so hold on for one hell of a ride.
What’s new for 2008 – Mobile Web
Mobile web is the next frontier for businesses and advertisers. Google Adwords has been testing it’s mobile ad platform in anticipation of Google’s foray into the wireless world with it’s announcement of the Google Phone software. Expect everyone to jump on the mobile bandwagon full-tilt next year, are you ready?