What’s your next social media site?
Facebook is losing users. According to analytics wrangler Socialbakers, the social network has dropped about 950,000 active users in the UK over the last month (that’s almost 3 percent overall), and usage is also declining in the US and Canada.
Without delving into the various reasons people might jump ship from Mark Zuckerberg’s blue-tinted behemoth, it seems that people may be on the lookout for a new social media site. And here are some alternatives…
Chances are you already have a Google+ account, even if like most people who do, you don’t actually do anything with it. Google’s social network – or “social layer” as the company likes to call it – boasts about 500m users, of whom around 235m are active on at least a monthly basis, and is closely aligned to other services like Gmail, Google Maps and YouTube.
It’s broadly similar to other social networks in that it lets you connect with other users to share links, photos and the like – but lets you tier them by placing them in different “Circles”. For instance, you can place people you actually like in the Friends Circle, while others can be relegated to the Acquaintances or Family (just kidding, Mum!) Circles where their presence won’t be felt quite so keenly. One of its best features is “Hangouts”, in which up to 10 people can participate in a group video chat.
Oh, and Stuff has a Google+ account, which you can connect with here. Go on, do it.
The “old” MySpace, populariser of selfies, enabler of mass narcissism and spreader of terrible music, may be little more than a punchline these days (to think, it was valued at no less than US$12 billion as recently as 2007), but there’s much to admire in the shiny new version, which for some reason has done away with the upper case S.
Owned in part by Justin Timberlake, new Myspace – now open to the general public after a lengthy beta period – features a clean side-scrolling layout, music streamer and handy type-to-search feature. Users can login using their old Myspace details or a Facebook or Twitter account, then connect to musicians and bands in order to listen to music. There are 199 artists to connect to at the moment, so don’t expect this to compete with Spotify.
It’s still early days for the network, but it’s looking likely to be a very music-focussed service.
Path is a mobile-centric social network available for iOS and Android devices, and its focus on photo-sharing makes it more of a rival to Instagram than to the likes of Facebook. You update your timeline by posting photos with tags for people, locations and more, but more interesting is Path’s commitment to ensuring your network of contacts remains “high quality” – in order that you share information more freely. It does this by limiting your network to 150 friends, based on a theory that the average person knows between 100 and 230 people that they’d trust enough to invite to a birthday party. Path, essentially, wants you to connect to these people only, rather than a bunch of strangers or acquaintances.
Available on iOS, Windows Phone and Windows 8/RT (and soon on Android), Didlr is basically Instagram crossbred with Draw Something: you draw (or “didl”) images on your tablet or smartphone and share them with the rest of the world, and in turn follow other Didlr users to view their sketches.
Pinterest allows you to share images and other content that you like through online “pinboards”, which can then be viewed by other users. If the users take a shine to something you’ve pinned, they can “re-pin” it to one of their own boards. It really is pretty much as simple as that.
Need the answer to a question, an opinion on the quality or your haircut or recommendations for the best Thai restaurants in a particular city? Then Thumb might be worth a look: post a question and it’ll swiftly crowdsource an answer, with respondents able to reply with a thumbs up or thumbs down as well as a comment. Available for both iOS and Android.
A social network for snobs? That’s an accusation that some have levelled at the invitation-only Medium, which eschews memes, vomit-worthy inspirational quotes and passive-aggressive status updates in favour of high quality long form posts like this and this. It’s more like a “curated blog network” than a social media site, in other words (not that surprising, when you consider it was created by one of the founders of Blogger). If you can wangle an invite, it could make a welcome break from the unfocussed noise of Facebook and Twitter.
And now for something completely different. Chirp isn’t so much a social network as a medium for sharing things like photos, text and videos – using sound. Currently available on iOS, it “chirps” out short bursts of sound that contain information which can be captured and translated by another device running the app. In the future, its creators hope that Chirp will be incorporated into other items like radios, TVs and even doorbells, allowing users to share information in much the same way as a QR code.