People use social media sites for many reasons. A survey released by Pew Internet last year revealed that about half of all social media users gave connecting with people with shared hobbies or interests as at least one of the reasons they use social media. While the prime motivation of the majority of users was to keep in touch or reconnect with family and friends, those who want to find others with shared interests is a significant and growing portion of all social media users. This is a factor that will play a large role in which sites are hot or getting hotter in the coming months and years.
Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and LinkedIn remain at the top of most popular social media sites with almost unimaginable numbers of users and monthly views. YouTube has reached 4 billion views per month and is still growing. Facebook now boasts 955 million members and over 9 million apps. LinkedIn and Twitter still have huge popularity with 175 million and 140 million users respectively.
The fastest growing sites for the past year were Google+, Pinterest and Instagram. Part of Google’s success with their social network has been by integrating it so closely with their very popular Gmail service but the network does see a huge amount of traffic. Pinterest and Instagram have been the rising stars over the past year and they don’t appear to be slowing down.
Many of the social media sites to keep your eye on over the course of the next year focus on that group of users who want to talk with people that share the same interests as they do. There is a definite trend towards more specialized forms of social networking instead of the broad, general interest sites like Facebook and Twitter.
Below you will find a list of the top ten hot social media sites to watch with a heat score of 1-10. Rate of growth, potential audience, outside factors influencing possible success, and ease of use are all points considered when scoring.
Klout is a social media site that measures ‘social influence’ and gives members a score 0-100. Although Klout will not reveal actual membership numbers, they have admitted to having over 100 million profiles – and that was a year ago. There has been a lot of controversy over the accuracy of their algorithm but it’s no secret that even employers have used the score to determine who to hire. With Microsoft just setting up a strategic partnership with the company, there is not only an influx of capital, but Klout scores will show up in Microsoft’s Bing search results.
IV (Ignite Visibility) Score: 10
Everyone knows MySpace. As a pioneer of the modern social networking site, MySpace has declined considerably in popularity as so many others have risen. However, the site still has 70,500,000 unique monthly visitors so it’s definitely not defunct. With the company being taken over by Specific Media and Justin Timberlake, it is being revamped. Popstar Timberlake has said that they want MySpace to be the place where fans can connect to their favorite entertainers and with each other. With Timberlake’s stardom, he has a good chance of bringing MySpace up-to-date and back to the top.
IV Score: 8
Reviews of businesses written by real customers is the basis of this site. With the growth of online sales still rising exponentially, this site’s 78 million users will grow just as fast. It’s perfect for finding local businesses, not just online e-commerce sites.
IV Score: 9
A specialized social network for artists of all types, but particularly visual arts. The site gets 25,500,000 unique monthly visitors. That’s proof of the growing demand for specialized social media sites.
IV Score: 8
A relative newcomer, Foursquare is a localized social networking app for mobile phone users. Users can check-in from wherever they are, be it a restaurant or the local theater, and are encouraged to give your opinion. Members get personalized recommendations and special offers based on where their friends and those with similar tastes have been. The site boasts of 25 million users worldwide.
IV Score: 6
The ultimate in question and answer sites, Quora has 1.5 million unique monthly visitors. Their goal is to become the best possible resource for any imaginable question. Their growth has been good and the site has a lot of potential.
IV Score: 6
Foodspotting comes as an app for mobile phones and as an app on Facebook. There have been over 1 million downloads at last count and their average monthly users doubled in the first three months after release of the Facebook app. Users share photos of food they eat at any restaurant they go to. It is location-based and instead of rating the restaurant, you rate actual dishes. This may be a fad but it’s definitely growing like crazy right now.
IV Score: 8
With 30 million users and growing, this Facebook social app is a rising star in the professional networking arena. It’s kind of like having a LinkedIn nestled inside Facebook. Users like having both on one site and it is getting a lot of use currently. With some big companies involved, this could very well explode over the next year.
IV Score: 9
A mobile app for iPhone or Android, Path is like a personal journal but you can share this journal with up to 150 of your closest connections. It’s similar to Facebook’s Timeline but is designed for intimate sharing rather than sharing with thousands. It’s growing in popularity with those who are overwhelmed by the huge networks.
IV Score: 7
This new entertainment-based social network just passed 3 million users and is launching a new app for the iPad. Users can check in and comment on what they’re watching on television. The television networks look on the app fondly as it has the potential to turn broadcasts into must-see events. If the entertainment industry gets solidly behind this one, it has huge potential.