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Is the social media universe still expanding?

2 min read


SmartPulse — our weekly nonscientific reader poll in SmartBrief on Social Media — tracks feedback from leading marketers about social media practices and issues.

This week, we asked: Have you signed up for a social network during 2013?

  • No — I have used only social networks I belonged to before the start of 2013: 50.33%
  • Yes — I have signed up for a social network to which I did not previously belong: 41.18%
  • No — I do not use any social networks: 8.5%

It’s been a while since a social tool has made a big splash. The last network to truly generate buzz arguably was Pinterest, which launched in 2010 and saw rapid expansion in 2011. Since then, we’ve seen existing social networks add features or tools, such as Twitter’s Vine platform, but there have been precious few totally new networks generating the kind of buzz that makes people feel like they’re missing out if they’re not part of the party.

That might be for the best, partly because few of us have room in our lives for yet another social tool. It also means that companies can stop playing the chase-the-shiny-object game and get down to the important business of developing a holistic social media strategy that isn’t platform dependent. When we stop trying to prove that we’re clued in to the next big thing, we can do many remarkable little things.

If the trend has a downside, however, it’s that a lack of new blood means a lack of competition for popular social networks. We all know what complacency gets us. Still, you could argue that between Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Google+, YouTube, Pinterest, Reddit, Foursquare, Quora and Tumblr, we have more than enough tools at our disposal.

What do you think? Is there enough competition in the social media space? Have you tried an interesting social tool lately? Are there unfilled niches in the social media universe?