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Platforms of Choice

I always ask younger people their social network of choice just to make sure what the stats say match up with reality.

Mobile First

Almost 9/10 say Instagram is their primary network while Snapchat is used on occasion. Facebook goes unmentioned because it’s just part of everyday life, like reading the newspaper or checking email. Consumption is assumed.

Very few people I talk to say that Twitter is their first choice. However, those who do claim the network to be indispensable. Twitter is their tool for discovery, sharing, and online discourse. Not surprisingly, these people are mostly writers and heavy readers.

The Others

Tumblr and Pinterest are always mentioned as ancillary networks that are fun, useful, and niche but not to die for.

Flickr never gets mentioned. And neither does Path, Highlight, nor Secret. It’s not surprising that these are all apps more popular in Silicon Valley than amongst common users. Nerds rarely create waves of mass adoption.

Conclusion

Instagram is killing it. It’s the best way to tell edited and sometimes raw stories about your life. People communicate in pictures. Since Instagram grew up as a mobile app first, every UI and UX aspect of the app is optimized for mobile devices.

Facebook has done a good job in allowing Instagram to operate on its own terms and market itself outside the social networking Goliath. But in a few years Instagram will too be normalized and a new social-sharing phenomenon (probably a more private one) will be the talk of the town. Facebook, too, is covered there with WhatsApp.

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Sunday Social Roundup

  1. Instagram pulled a VSCO and introduced more editing tools this week, most notably the ability to reduce the strength of filters. I still think VSCO’s filters are superior and more natural looking.

  2. Beats introduced a star packed World Cup commercial. No wonder they sold to Apple. Otherwise, who was going to pay the bill for this commercial?

  3. I worked for a company called TopSpin (now owned by Beats and hence, Apple) who built websites for artists so they could build their own communities and sell directly to fans. A similar development looks to be on the horizon for retailers. Why give your data to Facebook and Pinterest when you can replicate that experience on your site? I will admit though that the direct to fan model usually attracts hard-core fans. Side note: These proprietary internal networks may also be more beneficial for b2b operations.

  4. Social media is getting ready for the World Cup. Here’s a bunch of dog breeds and their matching national teams. I suspect that this #WorldCup2014 will not only be another massive moment for Twitter but will be huge for Instagram too. Naturally, I tweeted this too. Instagram is also sending me World Cup masks made by @artedemirar.

  5. It feels kind of old school to add social share buttons to your site but people actually use them. Not only that, some sites like Buzzfeed are seeing more shares via WhatsApp than Twitter. In other words, people prefer to communicate in private, or what’s known as Dark social.

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Snapchat: share in private so you can be in public.
Snapchat: share in private so you can be in public.
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Facebook remains the top smartphone app in 2013 with 103 million unique users a month.  Instagram is also up 66% YOY which of course, Facebook owns.    The data never lies but Facebook’s era is certainly over.  I expect to see Pinterest and possibly Snapchat and other dark social apps included in these numbers next year.  (Via Nielsen) 
Facebook remains the top smartphone app in 2013 with 103 million unique users a month.  Instagram is also up 66% YOY which of course, Facebook owns.    The data never lies but Facebook’s era is certainly over.  I expect to see Pinterest and possibly Snapchat and other dark social apps included in these numbers next year.  (Via Nielsen) 
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The Snapchat Effect

My iMessage is becoming more like Snapchat, that is, my friends are sharing more aggressively things they previously would’ve held back.  But this emergence of spontaneous content (i.e. brain farts) is exactly because of the way Snapchat is training us to see things and communicate them in real time.

iMessaging in images like Snapchat is like using hashtags on Facebook, the case of one network behavior influencing another.  Today, the hashtag is a way of writing and speaking like a colon but maybe even more powerful.  

Some people may say that this direct communication on iMessage is what kills apps like Snapchat.  But it’s quite the contrary.  Snapchat is unique in that you that you can be friends with someone you normally wouldn’t have direct contact with and send them ridiculous shit.  

Messaging apps are the king of social networks right now. It’s the reason Instagram is incorporating Snapchat like messaging. Some are even wondering if Apple acquires WhatsApp or Snapchat to improve instant messaging further.

Social networking is taking a turn for more direct communication which is inherently more social, and more engaging.