If you ever needed proof that social networking sites can convert their hobbies into cash, look on further than Facebook, the world’s user social networking platform. Mark Zukcerbeg founded the site in 2004 when he was still a Harvard student.
According to Facebook.com, its mission is: ‘to give people the power to share and make the world more open and connected. Well, it has succeeded in its mission because on May 18, 2012, Facebook debuted on the Nasdaq with a valuation of more $100 billion. And oh, Facebook currently counts 800 million subscribers who post status reports, share videos and photos, etc.
Youtube is another successful social network that was founded as a video sharing platform in 2005 by: Steve Chen, Chad Hurley and Jawed Karim. So popular was the site that Google purchased it a year later for $1.65 billion. Now you know who to blame when ads appear on the videos you play. Twitter, the 140-character limit micro-blogging website, reported recently that it anticipates making $1 billion from advertising by 2014. But for every successful Facebook, Youtube and Twitter, there are tons of failures.
Remember Myspace, Facebook’s predecessor. It began in 2003 and it had all the makings of becoming a smash hit a la Facebook because it had close to 80 million members by 2008. But it was let down by complacency and a reputation as a haven for spammers and viruses. Ping was launched in 2010 as an iTunes accessory where artists and fans could connect, as if that wasn’t already happening on Twitter.
Other social networking sites that also are members of this exclusive club include: Google+, IYomu and The Hub. But these failures haven’t deterred social networking from springing up on the Web faster than you can say: “Kim Kardashian has divorced again”. However, instead of going down the battle scarred social network highway, most startups now focus on results to do with internet marketing: Google Analytics (fine, its owned by Google, but it’s now must-have if you are a e-commerce practitioner), which analyses how your Google Adwords text and/or visual campaigns are doing, how many people are visiting your website and when, their location, etc.; Hoot suite, which measures the results of your social media efforts.
And oh yes, you can’t forget Linkedln, the ‘Facebook’ of professionals worldwide that was founded in 2002. Linkedln now boasts approximately 150 million registered members, and its May (is this the lucky month for social media IPOs?) 2011 IPO on Wall Street valued it at approximately $3 billion. Despite Facebook’s megastar IPO that has seen its share price fall from $38 per share to $26.90 yesterday (June 4, 2012), there is still room for new social networks to grow. Below are the top five social networks of 2012: 1) Pinterest (www.pinterest.com).
1) Pinterest is an online of your very own notice board where you can pin photos, videos, recipes, etc. Add its social networking function that allows you to see and comment on others’ pin boards, and you can see why it’s sticky.
2) Google+: Confession, I dismissed it earlier as an also-ran. But hey, one can’t be right 100% of the time. Word is that Google’s social media arm will have 25 milion users by the end of 2012. But if they will be active a la Facebook & Twitter…
3) Dropbox:(www.dropbox.com). Dropbox allows people to easily share and access documents. Call it ‘office teambuidling’.
4) Foursquare: (www.foursquare.com). Who wouldn’t want to gloat to their friends that they have just checked in at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas’? Well, that’s what Foursquare allows you to do, and much more like organizing a group date.
5) Mezee free chat (www.mezee.me). If you want to know what’s new, Mezee is the forest to search and its magnanimity to allow users to vote what’s hot and what’s not is the winner.
Written by Ludwing Hernandez, Full Web Entrepreneur and social media especialist.