What’s New In Social Media Platforms

New social media platforms are cropping up all the time, attempting to cover what no platform has yet been able to accomplish. The categories range from visual (Instagram, Pinterest, Tumblr) to organizational (Twylah, Pixabel) to further privatizing your social media circle (Path). While many are created, not all take off as intended. After wading through the deep pool of new social media platforms, I’ve narrowed down the list to the ones I consider the most promising. Some of these may not necessarily be new to social media veterans, but for someone who’s just beginning to delve into social media and wants to branch out from the usual suspects of Facebook and Twitter, here are some suggestions:

Pinterest

A virtual pinboard or “dream board” that allows you to organize/share photos and articles from the well curated site, as well as from any sites that have enabled “pinning” capabilities. You need a Pinterest invite in order to register, and even then you need either a Facebook or a Twitter account to complete registration. Depending on which one you decide to sign up with (I chose Facebook) it’ll automatically add all of your friends for you, eliminating the potentially time consuming task of finding new friends. It also suggests other people’s boards based on photos that you have found for your own boards. For example, in my case Club Monaco’s boards are worth checking out as not only do they have pins of clothing that represent their style, but also decorating and food ideas – things that I’m interested in. Some independent designers also use their Pinterest to document inspiration for future looks they might create, giving a fan an insider look into their creative process.

Instagram

A photo sharing program that allows you to take a photo, apply one of many digital filters to it, and then share it not only on your Instagram account but also to Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, Tumblr, FourSquare and to any e-mail address. It ties in well with the whole retro revival that began in fashion and then moved to more traditional methods of photography such as black and white and coloured polaroid. Now you get the effects of both without spending a cent! I like using it to make my food photos look more appealing. Nothing looks more salivating than a picture of pancakes set aglow with the ‘Rinse’ filter.

Path

A more privatized Facebook-esque app dedicated to your inner circle. You can sign into places (such as FourSquare), post photos with Instagram-like filters, video, what music you’re listening to (with a link to the song itself), a “thought” (not unlike a Facebook status) and the option to let your friends know when you’ve gone to sleep and when you wake up. With all of the options you can also say who you’re with within your circle (except for the asleep/awake feature, thankfully), fuelling the smaller community feel that Path is trying to cultivate. This is a great app to create a culture around your business. Because of its cap on how many people can be added to your account, Path is not so much business oriented, but more for those who are very active on Facebook or Twitter with their company and wish to hold on to some aspect of the two without having to broadcast personal information to potentially hundreds of followers.

Pixable

It helps organize and discover your friends photos on Facebook and Twitter. Want to only see the photos your friends posted without having to scroll through all of their status’ and conversations? This app uploads those photos from last weekend without you having to go through a treasure hunt. It also notifies you when you’ve been tagged in a photo. The website claims that it provides a “tailored experience that learns a user’s preferences and gets better with every visit.” However, unlike many social media outlets, Pixable is only available on Mac products for the time being. Though geared towards more personal use, it could also be used for companies who like to be notified when a customer has tagged their product in a photo, which gives them an idea on the type of audience they’re reaching.

Klout

The app that measures your influence within your social networks. Like Pinterest, you can only sign up with either your Facebook or Twitter account, but you don’t need an invitation. They use data based on your ability to drive action in certain social media outlets to prove that everyone has some degree of power to influence others. Actions include retweets and mentions in Twitter, comments/wall posts/likes on Facebook, comments and reshares on Google+, comments and likes on LinkedIn and tips/to-do’s/done on FourSquare. Facebook pages, YouTube, Instagram, Tumblr, Blogger, WordPress, Last.fm and Flickr are still in the works. There have been some complaints that the more active someone is on social media, the lower their Klout scores are – so perhaps use it to gain a general idea, rather than taking your score to heart.

Twylah

The ultimate Twitter experience! Feel that your tweets are going unheard? Twylah essentially takes your tweets and makes it into website form so that your readers can see who you are and what you’re about at a glance. Twylah strives to take your tweets and make them in a biographical masterpiece. Commonly used subjects, mentions, videos and photos are all turned into categories. I admit, having browsed Lady Gaga’s Twylah (http://www.twylah.com/ladygaga) it is more visually appealing and interesting to see everything laid out in such an organized way, rather than having to read all of her tweets (not that I do that…). I see this as being a great tool for both businesses and those with a personal brand. This acts as a bridge between their Twitter and website, and is especially helpful if the latter hasn’t been updated in some time since you get all the real time information from Twitter.

Scoop.it

Your own personal online magazine. Like Pinterest, you need an invitation in order to join, but getting one is worth the wait. Branching out from just Facebook and Twitter, you can use LinkedIn, Google+, WordPress and RSS Feeds and more while logged into Scoop.it. I can’t forget to mention that you can also use any number of websites to help curate your content. Think of this as an unlimited Pinterest account that deals more with written content (your “articles”) than pictures, except you aren’t limited to its database or websites that are only Pinterest enabled. You can have any number of topics as well. When saving a post/article on Scoop.it, a dashboard with many options appears. You can change the title, which ‘topic’ you’d like to add your post to, what image will be used to represent it, which social media channel you want to post it to and whether or not you’d like to provide a comment before it’s posted. It also automatically creates a tiny url which is a bonus when using Twitter, given its ever-limiting 140 character limit. Companies or bloggers would find this helpful in sharing relevant articles with their audience. I follow lots of health oriented Twitter and Facebook pages that often share links, and Scoop.it would be a great archive for them, so that a reader wouldn’t have to search through weeks of past posts to find a particular article again.

Tumblr

Surely everyone knows what this is by now. In any case, I like to educate all users of the internet – not just the tech savvy ones. Though the latter came later, I feel that Tumblr is the love child of Pinterest and blog hosts. It’s a fully customizable blogging platform. While traditional blog sites such as WordPress and Blogspot encourage lengthy posts, I’ve found that Tumblr is more multimedia based and any text written is pretty short. You can ‘re-blog’ from other users’ Tumblr accounts as well as upload your own from your phone or computer. Like any other blog, good Tumblr accounts have a consistent theme. I cut all my hair off one year ago thanks to a well curated short hair-dedicated Tumblr (I think I brought at least 20 photos with me to the poor hairdresser). Nowadays, I’m fascinated by a yoga-focused one that posts inspirational photos of seasoned yogis bending themselves into pretzels as well as the author’s personal journey towards that level. Because of the microblogging nature of the site, and the ability to add followers, Tumblr may be best suited for personal use, as it doesn’t have many options for creating sub-categories on the site. While the “archive” that all Tumblr pages have gives it a broad visual selection of posts to chose from, unless something has been tagged (such as “clothing”, “food” or “exercise”) expect to be searching for what you want for hours.

Gentlemint

Essentially, this is Pinterest for manly men. Founders Glen Stansberry and Brian McKinney “wanted to add an old-school, “gentlemanly” feel to the website”. There’s no girly material to be found here. Gentlemint connects to Facebook and Twitter, as well as to Google+. Personally, I found this site to be a little too focused on the battle of the sexes. Pinterest probably didn’t set out to be dominated by women, but it failed to develop a side that catered more to men. As a result, Gentlemint branched out entirely. However, Gentlemint’s clear preference of men seems to make it a little more exclusive than Pinterest, which prides itself on its inclusiveness. Why can’t everybody just get along on one platform? Seems a bit redundant to me. It’s not like the home layout of Pinterest is particularly girly, it’s as gender neutral as it comes compared to the moustached and monocled mascot on Gentlemint. Because of the great similarities between the two, the same ideas would apply in terms of business use for Gentlemint as well, except with the obvious emphasis on more male-oriented material.

Given the over-saturation of new platforms, it can seem daunting and overwhelming when deciding which ones to use. The great thing about all of these platforms is that they’re free, so if you try something out and it doesn’t work for you, then you aren’t out of pocket. Check out each of the sites listed above and see if they can benefit you. You never know, you might just find the missing piece in your social media platform collection

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