Snapchat and the Rise and Fall of New Social Media Platforms

In the past few years, companies are constantly trying to figure out what the next hot social networking service is going to be. Before its launch, Google Plus was expected to be the ‘Facebook killer’ and people believed that with a company as large and influential as Google, everyone would be moving on from Facebook to Google Plus in the same way that people migrated from MySpace to Facebook in 2006, when Facebook expanded its membership eligibility from college and high school students to anyone over the age of thirteen with an e-mail address.

However, Google Plus did not prove to be the ‘Facebook killer’ it was initially believed to be, as many people flocked to create accounts and soon after abandoned the website, realizing it offered very little that Facebook didn’t already have to offer. These days, the majority of Google Plus users tend to be Google employees themselves, and though there are a significant number of accounts, these accounts’ activity has lulled almost to a complete stop, evidenced by Facebook being the #2 in the Alexa rankings in the United States, compared to Google Plus’ ranking in at #129,199 at the time of this posting.

So what will be the ‘Facebook killer’? And does there even really need to be one? These days, other social media platforms appear to be trying to integrate with the social media conglomerate, rather than competing with it. There are functions for users to share their Twitter and Instagram posts on their Facebook profiles and these major social networks appear to currently be co-existing rather peacefully. That is, except for a recent surprise hit known as Snapchat.

While Snapchat is hardly a Facebook killer, nor does it claim to be, some tech critics are referring to it as ‘the next Instagram’ and it’s notable because of Facebook’s half-handed and failed attempts to try to compete with it. Essentially, Snapchat’s appeal is its ability to send temporary messages, pictures, and videos to individuals and groups that expire in a few seconds and are immediately deleted from the devices and the company’s servers. In the fast-chatting, quick-sharing world we live in, and that teenagers are growing up in, Snapchat has been particularly popular among youths.

Though, like Twitter and Instagram, Snapchat offers Facebook connectivity so that users can send ‘Snaps’ to their Facebook friends with relative ease, Facebook has also attempted to launch a competing, nearly identical mobile application called ‘Facebook Poke’. Facebook Poke has not attracted many users at all, and in fact, some are citing the fact that teenagers are interested in Snapchat specifically because it isn’t Facebook. Could it be this attitude that ultimately becomes the oft-mentioned Facebook killer?

When parents and grandparents and teachers all have Facebook profiles, is Facebook starting to become the social network that’s no longer ‘cool’? Time will only tell what youths of the future will turn to when it comes to their favorite social networks, but Snapchat appears to be one step in a certain direction of instantaneous and fleeting communication.

Facebook Continues to Expand Its Business Model

As the undisputed king of social media, it would seem like Facebook has little room for expansion in the realm of online networking. But the company continues to rollout new innovations to stay ahead of competitors, and recently Facebook has even begun to branch into other industries as well. Nobody knows for sure what the ultimate goal of Mark Zuckerberg and the team at Facebook is—aside from astronomical profits, of course—but industry insiders are now talking of a burgeoning battle between Facebook, Google and Apple for supremacy in the online marketplace and beyond.

At first blush it may not seem like these companies would be in competition with one another, but as the internet, phones, TV and other technologies are combined into a homogenous mix, it’s difficult to tell where one industry ends and another begins. One of the common grounds where all three companies thrive is advertising.

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Will Google Instant Change Anything?

The release of Google Instant yesterday has caused a lot of fuss in the online community, but will it really have any impact on searches? For those of you who don’t piously follow search engine news , Google Instant is a new feature that brings up search results as you type them into the search bar. Some people see this as a revolution for search technologies, while others find the flood of information overwhelming.

As you type your search into Google, results will automatically appear and change on the page. For example, when you type an “a”, Amazon comes up; but if you continue with a “p”, the results change and bring Apple to the top. In addition to providing instantaneous results, this revised version of Google also offers users predictions that are more accurate. If you don’t know what to type in, Google will bring up several oft searched for options after each keystroke, helping you pare down your search. Results are now catered to your geographic location and search history, further increasing the relevancy of the sites Google presents.

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Social Media Giants Announce Plans for ‘Social Good Summit’

Much of the media attention surrounding social media sites casts the industry as nefarious plotters hell-bent on peddling your personal information for financial gain. But while marketing is certainly one facet of social media, most of the sites out there have broader expectations for their company than simply turning a profit. During the week of September 20, leaders from aroundthe globe will descend on New York to take part in United Nations Week. Andin an effort to expand the effectiveness of this event, Mashable.com, CNN and several other leaders in the online community will be coordinating their own Social Good Summit, serving as a round-table for discussion on how social media and networks can be utilized to solve the world’s most pressing problems.

In the true spirit of social media, speakers at the event will participate both in person and through video calls on Skype. Among the leading speakers are Chris Hughes, the co-found of Facebook and media tycoon Ted Turner. The event will also be open to any andall who wish to attend, as users will be able to interact online while the Summit is taking place.

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New Businesses, Legislation Look to Address Online Privacy Concerns

The rampant use of social media sites and online networks has made personal information more readily available than ever. And with sites like Facebook constantly having their privacy settings and policies called into question, people are becoming increasingly concerned with monitoring and managing their online image. The issue of online privacy has helped spawn a completely new industry with startups offering a plethora of services centering on targeted marketing and persona information.

There are always two sides to any story, of course. Some of these companies are seeking to help businesses capitalize on this new and readily available personal information, while others take the opposite approach by helping individuals maintain online privacy and monitor how their information is being utilized. According to Forrester Research, online identity protection is now a $2.5 billion industry, and it continues to grow by 12 to 15 percent each year.

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Apple Announces Plans to Branch into TV, Social Media for Music

For the last several years, Apple has been a trailblazer when it comes to computers and music players, but the company has recently announced several plans to expand the breadth of their products and services. Earlier this week, Apple CEO Steve Jobs unveiled a slew of new software, programs and devices that will be yet another step in the company’s efforts to dabble in all forms of media.

One of the headline innovations is Ping, a social network for music fans that has been integrated into the latest version of iTunes. Much like Twitter, Ping users will be able to follow friends to find out which artists and songs they’re listening to. The new social network will also allow users to receive breaking news from their favorite bands and receive the most up-to-date concert listings. In the same vein as the Genius feature, which was introduced a couple of years ago, Ping will work to help users discover new music that is catered to their tastes.

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Facebook Earns Patent for New Targeted Search Algorithm

With thousands of companies vying to be the next internet success story, protecting new software, algorithms and other proprietary information is always a concern. Companies are constantly fighting to prevent competitors from taking advantage of their innovations, and like most other industries, the best way to get legal protection is by filing for a patent.

Searches are one of the most lucrative and widely used aspects of the internet, as is evidenced by the massive success and ubiquitous nature of Google. On numerous occasions we’vediscussed how searches are becoming increasingly personalized, leading to more targeted and effective marketing campaigns. Capitalizing on this trend is obviously a top priority for internet companies, and Facebook has just established itself as the leader in this race thanks to a patent on a new search algorithm.

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Social Media: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

Social media is everywhere nowadays. It finds you in the morning during your commute to work, sneaking its way into a promotional radio announcement for concert tickets – learn more about this music spectacular via the station’s Twitter account. It’s embedded in the e-mail we read; Vanessa tagged a photo of you on Facebook and Nathan wrote on your wall. It’s even incorporated into the TV programs we cherish – visit Fox.com/Glee to follow us on MySpace, check out video extras and learn more about the cast.

With each passing day, social media becomes more institutionalized within our culture, and our ability to separate social media from ordinary life becomes opaque and jaded. Such a transformation – social media into the norm of everyday life – also encourages the public to use social media as a gateway for sharing of every kind of information without thinking twice.

Below you’ll find real-life examples of how society has embraced social media to portray the good, the bad and the ugly.

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Privacy-Promoting Social Network Provides Alternative to Cautious Facebook Users

Are you one of many social media addicts who have been disappointed by the seemingly unjust privacy violations implemented by Facebook? Are you exhausted from worry of what might happen to your personal data with the topsy-turvy regulations set to protect your information? Would you like to rest assured that your social interactions on the web won’t come back to haunt you several years down the road?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, then you’ll want to pay close attention to a new social media platform that’s garnering favorability among social media consumers – and it hasn’t even been launched yet.

Diaspora, which has been coined a Facebook alternative by many, is an interactive online platform designed to grant social media users the privacy they demand matched with the social activity they crave. In fact, the social network’s founders – Daniel Grippi, Maxwell Salzberg, Raphael Sofaer and Ilya Zhitomirskiy – say it best in the following video clip.

Diaspora: Personally Controlled, Do-It-All, Distributed Open-Source Social Network from daniel grippi on Vimeo.

Set to launch September 15, 2010, Diaspora developed an interim, promotional website to deliver an overview, that’s both creative and concrete, of what social media users can expect along with a platform for the inevitable, frequently asked questions. The website describes the soon-to-be-launched social network in saying:

“We are 140-character ideas. We are the pictures of your cat. We are blog posts about the economy. We are the collective knowledge that is Wikipedia. The internet is a canvas – of which, we paint broad and fine strokes of our lives with. It is a forward extension of our physical lives; a meta-self comprised of ones and zeros. We are all that is digital: If we weren’t, the internet wouldn’t either.”

To stay current with Diaspora news and events in the final days before its launch, visit the social platform’s blog and KickStarter page.

Top 5 Tools for Successful Twitter Marketing

If you’re having trouble deciding which is more important – the quantity of your Twitter following or the depth of your relationships with your followers – rest assured that both are of equal value.

Now that your mind is uncluttered and free of question, it’s best to concentrate on how you can enhance both aspects of your Twitter account to ensure the most oomph for your efforts.

Below you’ll find five indispensible resources to establish successful Twitter marketing, thanks to SocialMediaExaminer.com, which zoom in on the following key areas:

• Generating new followers
• Managing your newly established following surplus
• Transforming shallow relationships into deeper, more connected ones

 1. Blast Follow
A must-have Twitter application, Blast Follow is a remarkable resource for e-commerce entrepreneurs who could use a helping hand in accomplishing the necessary grunt work to locate others in their industry. With just a single click, users can generate a seemingly endless list of followers.

So, how can such a near impossible task become so simplified? Quite easily in fact. The concept is based on a societal norm – the law of reciprocity – which states that it’s in the nature of humans to desire reciprocation (whether a friend or stranger) of actions.

This concept takes on a ‘you scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours’ appeal and, in this case, Twitter users seem to adhere to a loyalty to that says ‘you follow me; it’s only fair that I follow you.’

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