It continues to be a problem. Only made worse every time a new player arrives on the scene.
I'm talking about social networks. It used to be just MySpace. That was easy enough. But times have changed and social networking has become a booming business. In this post, I cover the 4 social networks I use the most and share with you my thoughts on them.
Facebook has since become the dominant player in this ever growing space. If you don't have a Facebook, something is wrong with you. If you are a business without a fan page, you are not with the times. So many people I know have replaced phone calls, emails and even SMS with Facebook. It's the latest method of communication between friends and family, blogs and subscribers and even businesses and their customers. So why can't people be content with just a Facebook? Facebook has become bloated. It's is no longer a place to really get social in my opinion. No, it has turned into a universal login for many websites and applications I use. It has also turned into an alternate way for people to contact me. Yeah, I kind of think of it as a virtual business card. Throw in some family and friend photos and that sums up what Facebook has become to me. To be honest, I avoid it at all costs with the exception of a random obligatory look at what my relatives have been up to.
Then there is Twitter. This is probably my favorite of all the social networks. It's is simple, minimal and easy to manage. I have met a lot of amazing people through this network which has held a place on my mobile phone since 2007. You are limited to a 140 character count status update. Replying to someone follows the same rules. Twitter has managed to become different things to different people but it has done so without over complicating the experience.
Enter Google+. It was a hot topic several months ago. It is clean. It is well designed. It is a fusion of Facebook and Twitter but without the user base and APIs accessible to devs, it is quickly losing it's appeal and it continues to get pushed to the back pages of my iPhone. Google+ can and will survive, but I believe they missed their window of opportunity to make it a truly relevant alternative to the major players that are Facebook and Twitter.
Then there is Path. Path is unique because it has been available for about a year and until recently was not even on the radar as a player. But version 2 of this product is nothing short of amazing. It has beauty. It is easy to use. It is well thought out and has the potential to be the one stop shop for all status updates, photo sharing, location check-ins and more. The user base is growing and it is gaining traction, but only time will tell if the investment will pay off. In order for Path to be a true social network alternative, it needs users and that takes time.
There are many others in the social network game that are relevant. Some are gaining in popularity such as Instagram and GetGlue while others seem to be fading away like Gowalla and Qik.
So who are the winners and who are the losers? I believe that will be defined by those companies that listen to the voices on the internet and streamline a product. But most importantly, they need to innovate and not complicate an already messy social landscape.