7 Social Networks to Watch in 2013 – Ryan Holmes in Fortune Magazine

By Ryan Holmes | 3 years ago | 42 Comments


An article by HootSuite CEO Ryan Holmes was featured in Fortune Magazine yesterday. Ranging from business to entertainment, Holmes looks at the 7 social networks to watch in 2013.

In December 2010, a little-known app for sharing photos with funky, retro filters announced it had signed up its millionth user.  Fast-forward two years, and Instagram is a social media titan, with more than 100 million users and some 58 photos uploaded every second.

While Facebook’s acquisition had a lot to do with Instagram’s growth, the reality is that new social media leaders are now emerging in a matter of months, not years.  So what does 2013 hold for the social media landscape? Here’s a look into the crystal ball at the hottest social networking trends of 2013.



The pay-as-you-go social network – Why share your gorgeous photos, funny videos and brilliant observations with the world for free on Facebook and Twitter, when you can sell them?  That’s the logic behind Pheed, a new social network launched in October 2012 that gives users – currently mainly celebrities, musicians and entertainment types – the option of monetizing their “pheeds.”  For a monthly subscription fee, ranging from $1.99 to $34.99, “pheeders” can offer subscribers access to a media-rich stream of text, photo, audio, video and even live broadcasts.  Stars like Miley Cyrus and Paris Hilton are already on board.



Personal crowdsourcing – Say you have no idea what shirt to match with your new jeans.  Snap a photo, upload to Thumb and crowdsource the decision.  Simple questions typically generate hundreds of thumbs up or thumbs down, plus comments, from the network’s very active user base, sometimes within minutes.  Appealing to the twin social impulses of vanity and voyeurism, Thumb generates serious engagement among users (reported to be around four hours a month, second only to Facebook among established networks) and seems poised for growth in 2013.



The invitation-only social network –  Social networks have dramatically lowered the bar for sharing information with people around the globe.  But has the bar slipped too low?  That’s the question posed by Medium, a new, invitation-only network from the creator of Twitter.  In an attempt to wean us off of cat photos, Gangnam Style and Justin Bieber updates, Medium emphasizes longer form, carefully crafted content (like this story on growing up in Saudi Arabia) from users with something of deeper value to share.  In many respects, it resembles a carefully curated blog network.  While creators are limited to the select few, everyone can read and comment.



Social networking for companies – Full disclosure: Conversations, a tool that brings social networking into the office, is made by my company, HootSuite.  But I’m not the only one excited about it.  ReadWrite called it “AIM on steroids.”  Instead of getting lost in long email chains, team members collaborate in real-time by posting on message boards, Facebook-style.  Anyone can be invited to join a conversation, enabling customer support teams to rally around issues, marketing teams to coordinate campaigns, etc.  Social media has revolutionized how we communicate in our personal lives – Why not bring some of those benefits into the workplace?



Buy with one Tweet – Remember how revolutionary it felt when Amazon introduced 1-Click payments for online shopping? Chirpify takes that concept into the social media era.  Sellers offer stuff for sale on Twitter or Instagram (T-shirts, concert tickets, new albums, whatever).  You reply with the word “buy” and it’s yours.  No credit card.  No “proceed to checkout” or “add to cart.”  The entire transaction is conducted through your Twitter account.  Apart from buying and selling, Chirpify can also be used for fundraising, giveaways and – most fascinating of all – peer-to-peer payments.  Need to pay a buddy back for this morning’s coffee?  Just tweet “pay” and the amount to his Twitter handle.  Chirpify is free to use but takes a five-percent cut anytime you get paid.



Bringing order to photosharing – Smartphones have made it ridiculously easy to take photos and video, but gorgeous shots from last week can end up lost deep inside the camera roll. Flayvr may be the most intuitive and aesthetically pleasing of a wave of new social apps bringing law and order to your collection. Photos and videos are automatically organized into eye-catching albums based on date, complete with location and even titles sucked in from your iPhone calendar.  With a tap, you can share the album as a splashy HTML5 webpage via social networks or email. It’s also a great alternative for privately sharing big collections of photos.



Sharing using sound – For sheer “wow” factor, Chirp may take the prize in 2013. Say you want to instantly share a photo or link with a roomful of people.  There are plenty of options out there, but they all have drawbacks.  Networks like Instagram or Facebook are members-only.  Email requires typing in multiple addresses.  Bluetooth has to be paired device by device.  Chirp, however, is different.  Your phone emits a high-pitched, two-second-long, robotic squeak. Other phones within audio range pick up the sound and instantly download the photo or message.  Chirps can be shared in a boardroom or a crowded bar, broadcast over loudspeakers to reach huge audiences or even embedded in YouTube videos or TV programs.

As diverse as these platforms are, they are all taking social networking into deeper, more focused directions: from business-specific channels like Conversations and cerebral  platforms like Medium to entertainment-based networks like Pheed.  Facebook will continue to reign supreme in 2013, Twitter will thrive and Google+ will accrue critical mass.  But in the shadow of these all-purpose social networks, some truly exciting transformations and specializations are underway.

Get more insight into the state of social media, by following him on his LinkedIn Influencer blog, a new resource that brings together regular insights from hundreds of thought-leaders around the globe.

Additional Fortune Magazine articles:


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lolindia 5pts

once cant really predict who is going to win, the actual winner might be a totally unknown candidate

Mike77 5pts

These sites are all great. Some I have heard of and others are new to me. I have started to using Socialgration.com because its dedicated to causes.

NICK 5pts

what about Get Me Produced!!

http://pcnha.org 5pts

You actually make it appear really easy with your presentation but I to find this topic to be really something that I feel I'd by no means understand. It sort of feels too complex and extremely extensive for me. I'm having a look forward in your next submit,

I will try to get the grasp of it!

randki 5pts

I really love your blog.. Pleasant colors & theme. Did you build this site yourself?

Please reply back as I'm trying to create my own personal site and would love to learn where you got this from or just what the theme is named. Many thanks!

Chris 5pts

None of these seem to bring anything new to the table that's of value. A social network so that celebs can sell they stuff? how tacky -- maybe, that could be of value as an e-commerce option for musicians, artists, etc. who are just entering the world of trying to sell merch -- that said, there are already plenty of platforms to do that on that are well-established.

...to quote Randy Jackson, 'it's just not doing it for me dawg.'

HeraldLand 5pts

It seems interesting, I love to try all of them.

Tell me one thing If i am belong to real estate, how the above social media sites help us in growing our business ?

Mozeo 5pts

Pheed is no more than and nothing less than a social network website. You signup/login, subscribe people & people subscribe you as well. Pheed.com also launched it's mobile app on iOS.

Nick Trenchard
Nick Trenchard 5pts

This is an interesting take on the new social media sites to watch out for in 2013. I think there is a fundamental shift to be noted that people are opting for more specific user engagement sites, rather than sites like Facebook that give you an all-in-one social media experience.

There is another interesting take on the next social media sites that will change the game in 2013: http://blog.sgrouples.com/new-social-networking-sites/. Overall, I think it's the more specific the site is geared to, the better engagement.

jalins 5pts

http://www.AAMP.net officially launched on December 28, 2012, and is a social network site created for independent artists. We attended the SXSW and received positive feedback from various artists, who are encouraged by a site that enables them to show off their work. Sadly, there are talented artists out there who often overlooked by major labels. At AAMP.net no artist is overlooked..... let us help you showcase your talent!

John 5pts

Hi guys, have you heard about Lifester app, i saw this on facebook, i was wondering does anyone have some more info. about it, it looks pretty cool.


Martin Kelly
Martin Kelly 5pts

Hello, i launched a social network thats doing rather well, would you please promote it... We have loads of new things on the way and we are looking for programmers... visit www.urcasts.com :)

Stacie 5pts

These sound great!

Carl 5pts

What about Tipperiffic? Its a tip sharing social network, basically share anything that may help someone else.

Mary Grace Viado
Mary Grace Viado 5pts

I personally like Conversations, Thumb and Chirp. Conversations I think is just awesome. Imagine injecting the social media feel into the work environment. That would increase productivity and it will make communication a lot easier. Plus, if it's Facebook like, then, there would be no problem in navigation.

For Thumb, I'm a supporter of crowdsourcing. Who doesn't want social acceptance?

With Chirp, I only have a word: Amazing!

These new social media sites just set the bar higher in terms of creating social media platforms.

Carl Timms
Carl Timms 5pts

Disappointed to not see the hard work of the guys at Letterboxd being on the list- that social network for film fans has exploded in the last year and I actually spend more time on that these days then even Facebook. It may be a site for a niche enthusiast but its a big niche!

Mauricio Luque
Mauricio Luque 5pts

Regarding Pheed, only an absurd pride could make some celebrities think their millions of followers in twitter will quickly turn in paying followers.

It's not a social network; it's just the old teen magazines in the digital age.

James 5pts

Some of these look pretty good, I'll be trying them out soon soon for sure. The catch is always getting your friends involved as well though!

Pete 5pts

So, with chirpify... if someone posts a photo of a steak, can I just post the word "eat" and then be full? that would be amazing!

New Years Resolutions = Made!

Joseph 5pts

Excited about the development of Conversations. Will we be able to modify conversations soon? Would love to be able to edit/delete a posting (Using Pro)

Drew 5pts

You should add Bitrix24 to the list - it's enterprise social network, but it's likely to become big news in 2013.

Nathaniel Cassidy
Nathaniel Cassidy 5pts

Not too sure about Pheed, these is something about multi millionaire a-list celebrities charging for their content that doesn't feel as cool or revolutionary as many of the other social technologies.

I could easily see myself becoming addicted to Thumb and Flayvr and will be downloading them after this comment! I love the sheer brilliant difference of Chirp also and can't wait to dream up a campaign that could use that kind of tech.

Chirpify seems genuinely exciting offering a new way to buy products and a simple platform for anyone to sell across using their existing social networks.

I like the idea behind Hootsuite Conversations but as of yet the functionality isn't quite there for us to replace Google Chat which we currently use of internal IM.

Great blog Ryan and if you have any invites for Medium I'd love to get involved! :)

Dino 5pts

I'm excited to try all of them! thanks hootsuite for the article <3