Something exciting about each new year is seeing which social media app will make it big this time. A few years ago, none of us could have imagined Snapchat becoming part of our daily lives (admit it, Snapchat is totally your guilty pleasure—I know it’s mine). With ever-expanding space and an increasing reliance on our phones, it’s easy to become invested in a new social media network.
What’s interesting is that most new social media that pops up primarily exists on mobile. Most don’t even have a website equivalent, so those without smartphones don’t have the opportunity to opt in to most new media. Naturally, many of the aforementioned apps are more focused on being out and about, making interaction with businesses, friends, and potential friends easier.
So here are a few apps I’ve been keeping my eye on, seeing if they’ll fly or fail (a few, admittedly, already have flown).
The chit chat surrounding ad-free Ello has greatly slowed down in recent months, but for a while, it was the social network with the largest interest. Many people were hoping it would become a facebook replacement—and with the steadily more complicated evolution Facebook’s been going through, it seemed like a great alternative. Of course, we also said the same thing about Google+ and look what happened with that!
This app is anonymous, and everything is shared only with other users within a certain distance of you, making it more local, and therefore more relevant than other similar apps. It’s commonly referred to as a college campus app, which has its ups and downs. For example, a friend of mine is a resident assistant at her university dorms, and has noticed several anonymous nasty comments that are obviously about her, without naming her specifically. The anonymous element can foster bad situations, but hopefully, the app will tend to become positive and not just an outlet for bullying.
Shots is really interesting, as it basically has one function—to post selfies, and it has no disillusions about its purpose. The best part, in my opinion, is that comments are not allowed on photos, which would obviously cut down on cyberbullying and general meanness. So far, it seems to be relatively empty—none of my social-media-loving friends have downloaded the app yet, which makes me sad—but perhaps with some smart marketing, this app could become much more widely used.
Heard is not so much social media as much as just a really, really cool app, and I felt the need to include it here. Basically, it constantly runs in the background, passively recording what’s going on around you (sound only, no video). If there’s something you hear from the recent past that you want to repeat, save, or share, you can do so by interacting with the app. It has some interesting social and ethical questions built into the concept, but overall, the app will probably be used for innocuous purposes.
Another anonymous app, this one differs from Yik Yak a bit, since you can read posts from everywhere, not just your local area. Written posts are superimposed onto images, reminiscent of the image-based quotes that you see posted all over Facebook and Pinterest.
Sharewall helps you get past annoying paywalls that prevent you from seeing content (news articles, anyone?) by sharing the content to your social media. It’s an exchange that benefits a business or website with exposure, while you get to see content for free that you would have otherwise been forced to either ignore, pass over, or choke up the money for. Unfortunately, it seems to be a UK-based app, and I can’t find any evidence that it’s even currently available.