Social Media Keeps Changing: Peek Over Your Shoulder

Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest may get all the headlines, but don't forget about their smaller, quickly growing competitors.

Want to understand where social media is going? Focus on the up-and-comers.

Matt Mullenweg, the guy who started the WordPress project, reportedly keeps an eye on every blogging platform that launches, following what they’re doing so that, in case one blows up, he’s not caught off-guard. (He claims he borrowed the technique from Jay-Z, who apparently does the same thing with rappers on YouTube.)

If your members start making bigger inroads elsewhere, you want to be prepared.

Take some cues regarding your social media plan: If the next Pinterest or Instagram pops up, you want to know about it. Social media keeps changing! If your members start making bigger inroads elsewhere, you want to be prepared.

So, with that in mind, here’s a roundup of some social media developments worth considering:

Google+ Wants Your Love

A little more than a year after its launch, Google+ has a huge audience. They claim 100 million active users in total, or one-tenth of Facebook’s recently announced 1 billion mark, but there are some issues regarding engagement. Most people ignore the service, but a small subsection is really into it. Talk to Vic Gundotra, the senior vice president for engineering at Google and the head of the Google+ project, and you get the feeling that it’s aiming for something deeper.

“When we asked people, ‘Do you love social networking?’ love was not a word we heard,” Gundotra recently told Fast Company. “So we dug into it. We asked, ‘Why aren’t you satisfied?’ People said it just felt awkward. They felt their privacy was violated. And we [at Google] don’t think ads should be injected into intimate social moments … Over the long term, we want to turn Google+ into the resource you go to to share your passions.”

Is there room for a deeper relationship with social media? And is Google+ the place to get that relationship?

Tumblr’s Analytics Play

While a couple of smaller projects have allowed users to analyze likes and reblogs on the quickly growing Tumblr platform, the company had previously done little to offer in-depth data to its users — despite analytics being commonly available on other platforms. But that will change shortly, as the site has agreed to work with Union Metrics on an analytics tool that breaks down the spread of an individual post, giving users information on who is most effective at spreading posts through the network. While the launch is currently private, Union Metrics promises this will eventually be open to the public.

Tumblr’s already a large platform with millions of active users that allows for deeper relationships, but could in-depth analytics push them to the next level — possibly something your association needs?

RebelMouse’s growing reputation

One of my favorite things ever written about social media is a 2009 piece by Robert Scoble that described dead-simple real-time content curation as the next big trend. Since then, social media’s kept proving him right — though as anyone who’s used Storify will tell you, we haven’t reached the dead-simple point yet.

RebelMouse, quickly gaining popularity among journalists in particular, wants to make things dead-simple. (It has some name recognition, too: It was founded by former Huffington Post CTO Paul Berry.) The app, sort of a mix between Pinterest and, automatically scours your Twitter and Facebook feeds for content, allowing you to post, organize, and add content after the fact. The feeds are also embeddable, making it easy to create a branded site around the content. TechCrunch, for example, recently launched one for its content.

Don’t have a lot of resources to organize your social media plan of attack? The Globe and Mail’s Mia Pearson suggests RebelMouse might be your best bet.

What smaller-scale social media tools have worked for you? Post your thoughts in the comments.

(TMG archive photo)

Ernie Smith

By Ernie Smith

Ernie Smith is a former senior editor for Associations Now. MORE

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