LinkedIn, MySpace, Facebook, Google Plus, Twitter, Buzz, Orkut and so on. The list of social networks over the past decade has been endless. While some have shut shop, others have emerged successful with millions of monthly active users.
Today, social sites aren't just a means of connecting with friends and sharing photos, but much more than that. Social sites have become an advertising platform and also a way to connect to businesses. From latest news to company announcements, social channels are becoming a be-all and end-all of our daily lives. For instance, if you are looking for a news that broke out just seconds ago, Twitter is the place to be. Now, even Facebook is rumoured to be working on a Twitter-like app.
Just like iOS and Android, Facebook and Twitter have often borrowed features from one another. And that's what's helping them sustain. Ever imagined why some social networks fail and other grow out of mediocrity. That is because they have to listen to users and ensure to serve up everything that a rival site offers and more. The number of users declined and Facebook surpassed it by a significant margin way back in 2008-09.
Let's take a quick look at five such features that aptly highlight the evolution of social networking through the years.
It's all about photos
A picture is worth a thousand words! From MySpace, which was the pioneer in the the social media space way back in 2004 – to the reigning king Facebook – the most important aspect of a social site has been photo sharing. Bringing back users to a social network needs a purpose and what could be more alluring than showing off those vacation pictures, your new car or a nightout with friends. Aren't most of us anxious to share those moments with others? Even micro-blogging site Twitter allows you to share multiple photos (up to four) and even tag users.
Photos have become such an integral part of the social media culture and social sites soon realised the need to add editing abilities. Not just editing and sharing, but also the ability to share multiple photos has become a big hit. The trend has been quite obvious and compelled Twitter to also add the ability to share up to four photos simultaneously.
Stickers and doodles
Remember those Yahoo chatting rooms or even MSN? Sending stickers (or whatever they were known back then) has always worked. It is a fun way to express your feelings. Yahoo even let you change the background of the chat window, back then. Though emojis, stickers have graduated and come a long way ahead, a little of bit doodle has also added to the list of loved features. Mostly this trend has been adopted after the rise of messaging apps. Twitter has announced to remove the 140 character limit on its direct messaging and we can soon expect it to add further similar features, making it just like a complete messaging platform.
Connecting with celebrities
MySpace was incredible in its heydays. It lets users connect to celebrities. This is something we've seen over the decade, be it celebs making big announcements on Twitter or posting a picture of Instagram. It is like platform connecting people to celebrities and vice versa, eventually making it a platform for promoting and marketing.
While a social page is for just about anyone in your social circle, a private or closed group that will allow only like-minded people or a group of friends who can speak their minds has become a vital attribute. The groups feature has been around for years – be it MySpace, Orkut or Facebook. One shouldn't forget that many prefer WhatsApp over Facebook for socialising as it allows sharing personal things to select friends at all times. In such a way, one can make several different groups – close friends, family, gym buddies, office colleagues and so on.
Everyone wants to know what's on your mind and your moods. After all, it is something that will compel others to respond. This also means even if you have no one around there are hundreds of friends on a social network who might just have something to say. Even messaging sites like WhatsApp and Skype let you update a status and photo depending upon your mood.
There are several other features that have worked for social networks and the most important as simple interface and constant evolution. Yes, change is a must. Small features like double tap to like a photo on Instagram, save a page to read later in Facebook and likewise have made a big difference. Disappearing chats and photos is something being loved by many since the conception of Snapchat in 2011. Many have tried to emulate the feature and also failed miserably.
Getting newer and younger audiences whose mindset will also evolve and keep changing as generations pass will be a challenge, but most of the core attributes by social networkers is more or less the same. Another upcoming trend is live streaming, which also seems will go a long way. Following Meerkat and Periscope, Facebook has also introduced a new feature called Live to the Mentions app (only for celebrities), ensuring it isn’t late to the live streaming party.
Published Date: Aug 13, 2015 19:23 PM | Updated Date: Aug 13, 2015 19:23 PM