Is There Room For More Social Networks?
There are, undoubtedly, a whole host of different arguments for answers to whether or not there is room for more social networks. The reality is that the internet is littered with social networks which lay dormant or relatively unused.
Perhaps one of the most recent networks with a lot of buzz surrounding it is Ello – a service designed to be an alternative to the ad-laden Facebook and Twitter which offers users more control and privacy. Whilst it is still in its infancy (it is currently in its beta stage), it has around one million users with no official data on how many of those users are actively using its facilities. Comparatively, Facebook has 1.44 billion active users each month. This is especially impressive when you put it into context and point out that the world’s population is roughly 7 billion people.
When you look at those statistics and compare them, new social networks stand little to no chance of really excelling in an already over-populated and saturated marketplace. This is especially true when you factor in the purpose of social networks which is to connect you to other people, but if you are the only person on there then it loses its sparkle relatively quickly. Ello’s ideas are interesting and its site design is sparse and notebook-like which many will enjoy but Google Plus’ privacy setting-focused priorities have still not put it ahead of the behemoth that is Facebook. The question has to be asked: will anything manage that feat?
However, the question we’re answering here is whether there is room for more – not whether they can outdo Facebook. The answer is perhaps a tentative ‘yes.’ Though it is worth clarifying that by saying that for a new social network to be truly successful, it has to be a bit special and provide something that is still missing from the social network scene – a provision which is becoming an increasingly small window.
Networks such as Periscope may stand a chance of achieving this success. For instance, perhaps building on the huge triumphs of Vine, Periscope offers users the chance to live-stream video to their followers. The company’s vision centres on the idea of sharing exactly what is happening there and then with people from all around the world. Arguably, its potential rises out of its exciting possible uses such as showing the world what is really happening in a media-restricted zone, or sharing key events in our lives with friends and family (side-question: who will be the first person to periscope a birth?), or even the potential to remove the need for news: why read about it after the event when you can watch it happening whilst it unfolds?
Arguably, there is room for new social networks but, it would seem, they must offer some potential for new prospects to really thrive rather than just survive. The truth is that there are dozens of sites keen to replicate what Facebook does but the moment has probably passed for trying to over-take such an innate part of our lives.