Noteworthy Social Networks

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Noteworthy Social Networks

by Michael Gariffo

Docid: 00021013

Publication Date: 2104

Report Type: PRODUCT


When someone mentions social networks, the two that most likely
come to mind are Facebook and Twitter.
This duo has come to represent the current concept and ongoing thrust of social
networking through their dominance in usage figures and their leadership in the
creation and release of new trends and services. However,
there was a time not so many years ago when Twitter and even Facebook
were by no means household names. This report revolves around five social
networks that currently find themselves either in the same position Twitter and Facebook were in before they became the
most dominant general purpose social networks in the world, or in a unique position to impact the Web
as a whole due to owned assets or unusual levels of influence on the social
media category.1
This document will examine the founding and creation of the covered networks, the size and composition of their user base,
and analyze the strengths, weaknesses, and overall outlook of each contender for
the next "it" social network.

Report Contents:

Introduction and Criteria

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The five social networks covered here are not selected simply for
their current ranking on popularity charts or due to any particular measurement of
their monthly visitors. Rather, each was selected due to a combination of its
current user activity, what differentiates it from competing
offerings, and a selection of less tangible factors that make a social network
worthy of being called noteworthy rather than simply one that will live its entire
lifespan as a middle-of-the-road contender. With these criteria in mind, the top
five social networks worth watching today, in no particular order, are: Pinterest, Instagram, Flickr, Tumblr, and LinkedIn. These candidates for the next
big social network come from a variety of backgrounds, with some having been
created as a mobile app, while others have a much stronger presence on the desktop.
However, all are accessible via desktop Web
browser, the mobile Web, and official mobile apps for all major mobile
operating systems. Below is an examination of each, including
a brief description and introduction followed by a deeper dive into their areas of focus.

Figure 1. Pinterest’s Logo

Figure 1. Pininterest's Logo

  • Founding: Pinterest was created in 2009 by co-founders Ben
    Silbermann, Evan Sharp, and Paul Sciarra. It reached prototype form
    in 2010 when it began to be tested by a small group of friends and
    family of the co-founders. Following a public launch later in 2010 and
    several rounds of third-party funding in 2011 and 2012 from investors such
    as Japanese retailer Rakuten, the site began to flourish, receiving a $1.5
    billion valuation in 2012.2
    This rapid growth trend has continued through today, with Pinterest having
    skyrocketed from a $5 billion valuation in 2014. However, since the
    company’s 2019 IPO, its value has been in a greater state of flux, with it
    largely underperforming expectations.
  • Description: Pinterest is often described as a "virtual
    scrapbooking" Web site. The primary purpose of its offerings, like most
    social networks, is to help users share something on the Web with friends and strangers. However, unlike Facebook or Twitter, the topic of most
    material shared is not the user’ life but external interests
    such as art, design, fashion, home decor, and any product or creation that
    catches a user's eye. These findings live on a user's "Pinboard" where they
    can be seen by other users, commented on, and re-shared. Once a users
    collection of "Pins" begins to grow, they can divide their interests into
    several Pinboards, giving each a theme or timeframe in order to better organize
    their interests and ideas. To ease the process of creating a new pin,
    Pinterest has its own equivalent of Facebook's "Like" button, the "Pin it"
    button. This can be found on many of the most trafficked sites on the Web
    and is a quick, nearly ubiquitous way for users to share their finds.
  • Global Ranking: Pinterest is currently ranked 143rd
    among all Web sites globally and 88th among all Web sites in the US.3
    It's user demographic skews heavily towards female users, with a generally
    even distribution among education levels. However, users report accessing
    the site much more frequently from school than from home or work.
  • Site Analysis
    • Strengths: Pinterest may be the closest contender
      on this list to the likes of Facebook and Twitter, ranking 4th behind
      only these two and LinkedIn in the most recent Alexa figures.4 Widespread adoption
      of the "Pin it" button, along with high-profile users such as Michelle Obama,
      has led to wide exposure for the social network. Popularity is obviously important, but it
      doesn't necessarily translate to a promising future if the business in
      question does not have a clear revenue stream. Thankfully for Pinterest,
      it has one of the clearest of any social network on the list. The site
      does not rely on banner ads in the traditional fashion. Instead, it
      allows companies and marketers to post promoted Pins. This practice,
      which is becoming more popular on other sites, allows commercial
      entities to get their product in front of users without the need for a
      jarring banner ad. This results in a typically more positive ad exposure
      than an intrusive, traditional online advertisement. In fact,
      one study claims that Pinterest reaches not only 23.5 percent of the
      entire US population, but a massive 83 percent of Women aged 25 to 54, a
      prime advertising demographic.5
    • Weaknesses: Pinterest has a
      constant battle on its hands in the form of copyrighted content.
      Although the site has a system in place for copyright owners to request
      a Pin be taken down, the site must constantly monitor its pages. Thankfully, it is protected somewhat
      by the DMCA's Safe Harbor provision, but this does not completely remove
      the possibility that a lawsuit could arise from the posting of a
      particularly sensitive piece of copyrighted material. This became such a
      concern for Pinterest that the site developed an HTML meta tag that
      could be placed in the underlying code of a Web site, preventing that
      page from ever being shared on Pinterest's profiles. However, if a Web
      developer does not use that code or does not even know it exists, it
      affords little protection to copyright holders or the social network
    • Future Outlook: Despite its
      ongoing copyright issues, Pinterest's future looks very promising.
      The site still has a very low level of ad placements when compared to
      the likes of Twitter and Facebook, and it finds itself in possession of a
      business model that could not have been designed to be any more
      promotion-friendly. This means that there is plenty of room for the
      social network to grow its marketing presence, and, simultaneously, its
      revenue stream. A large part of the company’s fortunes are less certain
      since its 2019 IPO. The social network’s share prices have fluctuated
      dramatically at times, and it has not, so far, lived up to the wild
      expectations for its performance. However, as Facebook’s infamously rocky start as a publicly traded
      company showed, not all well-hyped social networking initial offerings
      go smoothly.

Figure 2. Instagram’s Logo

Figure 2. Instagram's Logo

  • Founding: Instagram's story begins with the creation of
    the Burbn mobile app by Instagram’s now CEO
    Kevin Systrom. Shortly after launching Burbn, which was itself a social
    networking application, Systrom joined with Mike Krieger to create a new app
    that focused entirely on mobile photography. That app was named Instagram
    after a combination of the words "instant camera" and "telegram."6
    The official launch of Instagram as a mobile app took place in October 2010.
    Growth came quickly for the photo sharing app, with one million users reached
    before the end of 2010, followed by five million by the middle of 2011, and
    more than 30 million only one year later. Instagram's moment to shine
    came later in 2012 when it was acquired by Facebook. The $1 billion
    transaction was one of the largest of its kind to that point and gave the
    photo sharing service more than enough cash to grow. The results of this massive bankroll were immediate and
    dramatic, with continual growth pushing the platform’s most recent average
    monthly user estimates at over one billion .7
  • Description: As stated above, Instagram began its life
    as a mobile app. However, it quickly grew to include both a mobile and
    desktop Web-based presence and quickly became synonymous with the sharing
    of photos in a way that even parent company Facebook and competitor Twitter cannot claim. The app
    functions by allowing users to utilize their mobile device camera to snap
    photos of whatever they like. These photos were originally captured in a somewhat unique
    4:3 aspect ratio, lending them something of the look of an old Polaroid
    image. This resemblance was further enhanced by the inclusion of Instagram's
    trademark photo filters. These image treatments include everything from
    black and white to sepia to a variety of other tints and modifications that
    improve the beauty of the image's subject or to evoke a particular feel.
    More recently, the company has also added additional image formats and
    augmented reality filters that allow the user to overlay virtual objects
    into real-world photos.
    Once a user is happy with the image they have created, they can upload it to
    their Instagram feed where it can be viewed and commented on by friends and the public
    in general, depending on the privacy settings selected for each
    image. Users can view these images via the Instagram app as well as via the
    company's Web site.
  • Global Ranking: Despite being primarily a mobile
    app-based service, Instagram still ranks very highly among Web sites, coming
    in at number 27 globally and number 24 in the US.8
    Like Pinterest, its user base skews toward females with an even balance
    between education levels among its users. It is primarily accessed from
    schools, with home usage being a distant second.
  • Site Analysis
    • Strengths: Love it or hate it, Instagram is
      arguably responsible for the existence of the word "selfie." Although
      some see this as just another example of an increasingly narcissistic
      online culture, the world's youth seem keen on devouring the concept.
      The service has become the place to share selfies but also
      serves as a popular spot to post images of meals, travel destinations,
      concert experiences, and any other life event that the user wants their
      friends or the public to know about. This direct pipeline to the people
      has led it to become popular with many celebrity and high-profile users,
      even up to and including the existence of an official White House
      Instagram account. Instagram's true strength lies in the simplicity of
      its photo-sharing experience. Much in the way impatient readers will
      often leaf through a book to just get to the picture, Instagram offers a
      way for users to skip all of the talking and conversations that occur on
      Twitter and Facebook and get directly to seeing what other people are
      up to.
    • Weaknesses: Although Instagram
      does maintain a highly-trafficked Web page, it is still largely known as
      a mobile app. This significantly reduces the opportunities it has to
      derive revenue from third-party ad placement. Without the existence of
      banner and header ad slots, Instagram must instead rely on in-app
      purchases and promoted accounts for its own revenue stream. That said,
      Instagram is a wholly owned subsidiary of Facebook, meaning that the
      service can exist as nothing more than a feeder product for Facebook
      itself, and would still be considered entirely successful simply by
      leading potential customers to the massive selection of Facebook ads.
    • Future Outlook: With Facebook backing Instagram, it's hard to imagine any real chance of failure.
      Unlike independent entries on this list, Instagram only needs to
      continue creating value for its parent company to validate its own
      existence. Frankly, this much lower bar should be no trouble for
      Instagram to hurdle for several years to come. The only foreseeable
      issue that could arise is if another service were to unseat Instagram by
      doing what it does but better. Some contenders have arisen in recent years,
      such as Snapchat and photo-enabled messaging services like WhatsApp.
      However, despite offering many of the same features and some additional
      tweaks on the photo sharing genre, none of found the particularly
      successful niche that Instagram has come to inhabit

Figure 3. Flickr’s Logo

Figure 3. Flickr's Logo

  • Founding: Flickr is the oldest of the entrants on this
    list, having been founded in 2004 by Ludicorp. However, for most of its
    life, the photo sharing site was a Yahoo property, having been acquired
    by the well-known Internet company in 2005 for a mere $22 million to $25
    million.9 Despite Yahoo’s own tumultuous fate, which ultimately
    resulted in its acquisition by Verizon Communications, Flickr remained one
    of its strongest, most consistent properties. Because of this, Verizon left
    the photo sharing social network largely untouched, allowing its operations
    to continue uninterrupted for several years. However, the financial weight
    of Flickr’s business model eventually took its toll, and, in 2018, Verizon chose to
    sell Flickr to SmugMug, its current owner.
  • Description: Like Instagram, Flickr is a photo sharing
    service. However, that is about all the two can be said to share. Flickr's
    community is made up of primarily photographers, whether they are
    professionals, amateurs, or just dabblers, the focus is much more intensely
    placed on the quality of the images being posted, rather than any relation
    they have to the personal lives of the users posting them. This is not to
    say that the service cannot be used as a form of photographic journal, it is
    simply not the most popular use for its services. Instead, Flickr is home to
    the portfolios of thousands of artists, photographers, models, and media
    companies. The site maintains one of the single largest repositories of
    images on the Web, with over six billion images currently on its
    servers and an estimated 3.5 million more being uploaded on a daily basis at
    the site’s peak.10,11
    Users can view the majority of these images without the need to sign up for
    an account, but are required to create a profile to upload their own photos.
    When Flickr was owned by Verizon, even free users could upload up to 1TB of
    images. However, since its recent acquisition, users must now pay for
    a "Pro" account in order to maintain a photo library of any more than 1,000
    images. Although this may seem like an anti-consumer move on the surface,
    most casual users are unlikely to hit the 1,000 image hard cap, while most
    users exceeding that cap are likely to be professional photographers and
    artists anyway. This means that Flickr’s revenue stream has the potential to
    improve significantly if SmugMug can successfully monetize its larger
    storage tiers.
  • Global Ranking: Flickr is a much stronger site in the
    US market than it is abroad, ranking all the way down at number 561
    globally, but as high as number 406 in the US. Any claims that the site is
    no longer relevant should consider the fact that, just in the first quarter
    of 2021, Flickr's rank jumped almost 300 spots, globally. The site has among the most
    evenly distributed user bases here, with a slight tendency towards female
    users but nothing like the bias seen in nearly all of the other entrants.
    Its users are predominantly made up of those with some college experience or
    a graduate degree, with the primary access site being from school-based
  • Site Analysis
    • Strengths: Flickr's main strength these days lies in the sheer
      size of photographic collection. Although users must, of course, give
      permission for their images to be made available commercially, the site
      has enough content on hand that, if only a small fraction of its total
      collection is monetized, it still has access to a massive source of
      revenue. Flickr does face competition in this area, even in its
      strongest market, the US. Sites like CafePress, Deviantart, and others
      also allow creators to post their works with on-demand options for reproductions as prints, collectibles, and gifts. However, none of these
      competitors can match the sheer volume available to Flickr users. It is
      also important to note that images on Flickr can be used commercially,
      something it is relatively unique in offering. This means that
      advertisers and other commercial entities can connect with uploaders to
      license their photographs for use in ephemera and for other commercial
    • Weaknesses: Flickr's weaknesses
      historically stem from a single area of its operations: Its policies. The social
      network's policies have come under fire several times. The most common
      target for disgruntled Flickr users is its tendency to offer sales
      percentages to photographers that many feel are less than fair, with
      commercially licensed images often only netting their creators 51% of
      their sale prices. Even worse, however, is the fact that Flickr can sell
      images that users have chosen to upload as Creative Commons property,
      with none of the profit going to the photographer. Although it is
      entirely up to the user whether the photos are tagged as Creative
      Commons images, many believe the lack of another alternative, aside from
      the aforementioned commercial license, leads many users to choose that
      option by default. More recently, the site’s switch to a monetized
      business model for all accounts with more than 1,000 images has caused
      controversy among some users. Whether those users will actually see any
      real-world impact from the change is questionable. However, despite
      profitability being a business’ main goal, users are often turned off
      when a service makes any changes baldly aimed at increasing its own
    • Future Outlook: Flickr’s future relies entirely
      upon how well its most recent owners can monetize its massive photo library. SmugMug’s decision to begin charging a subscription fee for all accounts
      over 1,000 images was, as has been said, controversial. However, the new
      ownership acquired the company in order to turn a profit. In order to do
      that, it had to reduce the maintenance costs associated with storing and
      transmitting the massive library of photos it maintains. If SmugMug can
      continue to position Flickr as one of the premiere places on the Web for
      photographers and artists to display their work, then pros will likely
      be willing to pay for its services. However, if Flickr’s formerly free
      offerings are replicated by a competing service, then its user base may
      well be bled dry by a less costly competitor. The trick will be for the
      company’s new owners to find the right balance between monetizing its
      assets and driving away free users.

Figure 4. Tumblr’s Logo

Figure 4. Tumblr's Logo

  • Founding: Tumblr was created by David Karp and Marco
    Arment to fill a perceived gap in the Internet for a service dedicated to "tumblelog,"
    or short-form blogs. The site and its accompanying service officially
    launched in February 2007. Tumblr had a relatively slow start, registering
    just 75,000 users three years after its foundation.13
    However, the social networking service reached a turning point in June 2012
    when it partnered with well-known athletic brand Adidas on its first
    official corporate blog. This, combined with a near simultaneous launch of
    paid advertising slots on Tumblr blogs, finally gave the service the boost it
    needed to begin its rise to where it is today.14
    Seeing the trajectory Tumblr found itself on, Yahoo began talks with
    the company shortly thereafter, eventually agreeing to acquire it for $1.1 billion in
    May 2013. Since then, Tumblr was sold to Automattic, a company best known
    for its ownership of the WordPress blogging platform.
  • Description: The primary differentiator that makes
    Tumblr unique among social networking services is that, rather than each
    user receiving a profile, they are instead equipped with an entire blog.
    Although some users choose to use this blog as a personal timeline, very
    similar to the function of a Facebook profile, most, instead, use their
    Tumblr blogs as a fully-independent Web site in their complete control.
    Users can post nearly any type of content they wish (with certain
    restrictions covered in more detail later), including text, images,
    videos, and audio clips. These can then be commented on or "reblogged" by
    other Tumblr, users, which will result in that piece of content appearing on
    the personal blog of the user that reblogged it. Tumblr is somewhat unique
    in the fact that a single piece of uploaded content can typically be tracked
    back to its originator thanks to the fact that all subsequent reblogs
    include a set of "Notes," which collect all comments made on that post, as
    well as links to all other blogs that have reposted the content. This easy
    proliferation of media makes it possible for blog owners to quickly grow and
    curate an impressively expansive collection of content on their area of
    interest, with only a fraction of the effort it would take to have
    accomplished something similar with a traditional Web site.
  • Global Ranking: Despite the fact that most Tumblr users
    will go directly to the Tumblr blog of their choice, bypassing the Tumblr
    homepage, the company's own Web site still ranks very highly, placing at
    120th in the world and 115th in the US. Like most of the social networks on
    the list, Tumblr skews more heavily towards female users. Its main users are
    those with "some college" or "no college" experience, likely due to the
    tendency for its blogs to attract younger users than most of the other
    services on this list. This is supported by the fact that its average
    visitor is vastly more likely to be accessing its pages from school than
    from work or home. 15
  • Site Analysis
    • Strengths: Tumblr's strengths have
      traditionally rested in its liberality
      of topic material. The more than 500 million estimated blogs it houses range
      across literally any topic one could think of. This means that, at least
      theoretically, any advertiser in the world should be able to find a Tumblr blog on which their products may be appreciated. Thankfully,
      Tumblr itself realized this years ago, launching paid ads in 2012. Since
      then, that has remained the site's primary source of revenue, with
      promoted posts joining simple banner and in-line ads later in 2013.
      According to Tumblr's Head of Sales at the time, the site could expect
      as much as six figures from a single ad placement in 2013.16
      In addition to having its ads as a sizable revenue stream, Tumblr
      has also managed to be almost unique among social networks in that it
      has convinced its user base to pay for certain customization features
      for their individual online presences. These paid-for options come in
      the form of "themes," which can significantly alter the look and layout
      of a user's blog. Prices for these vary, with some themes available free of charge.
    • Weaknesses: Tumblr has been home
      to more than its fair share of controversy, typically regarding the
      content its users post. Although all social networks must police posted
      content to a certain degree, the distributed nature of the Tumblr
      network of blogs makes this a somewhat more arduous task. For this
      reason, Tumblr developed a list of prohibited
      content that it will not allow as a topic on any one of its blogs. This
      list includes anything that would be illegal under standard US law, as
      well as any content advocating self-harm, or promoting eating disorders.
      17 Eventually, the company also decided to disallow
      essentially all
      adult-only content. While it may have been something of a "well-known
      secret" that a major portion of Tumblr’s user base utilized the platform
      for X-rated content, the company nonetheless terminated access to
      such blogs in late 2018. 18 Since the removal of pornographic
      materials, Tumblr’s rank has fallen dramatically, dropping over 50 spots in the world, and
      over 85 in the
    • Future Outlook: Tumblr's unusual
      take on the social network has led it to be somewhat more of a dark
      horse than its competitors. It has never become a universally recognized
      verb in the way Facebook or Instagram are, but, for all that relative
      obscurity, it remains just outside the 100 sites ranked sites on the Web, and
      maintains one of the largest user bases and highest number of monthly
      visitors. That said, the company’s future now lies in the ability to
      draw revenue solely from users not interested in adult content. What matters most
      for any successful social network is not sheer user numbers, but rather
      the revenue that can be derived from those users. Given Tumblr’s
      decision to axe its pornographic blogs, it seems likely that its own
      analyses of its revenue stream showed little of it being derived from
      18+ blogs. If this is indeed the case, then, despite the backlash from
      some of the populace, the effect on Tumblr’s bottom line may be
      negligible. In fact, the "sanitization" of Tumblr’s content may actually
      attract new advertisers and commercial entities to the platform that may
      have avoided it in the past due to a perception of being less than
      family friendly. That said, the continued downward trend of the site’s
      global and, to a greater degree, US rankings is worrisome. It seems
      clear that the social network’s new owners must do something to turn the
      trend around, but it remains less clear if Verizon Media is willing to
      expend the resources such an undertaking may require.

Figure 5. LinkedIn’s Logo

Figure 5. LinkedIn's Logo

  • Founding: LinkedIn was founded on December 28, 2002,
    but did not launch until May 5, 2003. From its inception, the social
    network was designed to be a sort of work-centric counterpart to the likes
    of Facebook and general purpose social networks. Where those private
    offerings could be used to catalogue and communicate on the users’ personal
    lives, LinkedIn was primarily interested in doing the same for users’
    professional lives. This novel approach showed the company as one of the
    first entities on the Web to see the possibilities for networking and
    communication that social media could provide. Connections previously made
    only at trade shows and via in-person introductions could now happen online
    with a wider array of people than any single employee could physically meet
    in a lifetime. These assets, as well as the site’s usefulness for job
    seekers and recruiters, led to strong, sustained growth over the years since
    its launch. The most recent figures peg its monthly user base at 260 million.
    Because of these extremely attractive assets, it was only a matter of time
    until one of the largest players in the tech world took interest in
    incorporating LinkedIn into its own offerings. Unsurprisingly, another
    company synonymous with getting work done, Microsoft, ended up being that
    suitor. In June 2016 the duo announced an agreement under which Microsoft
    would acquire LinkedIn for $26.2 billion.20 The transaction closed in December
    of that year and LinkedIn is now a Microsoft company
  • Description: As stated above, LinkedIn is, to this day,
    designed to serve as a professional counterpart to the likes of Facebook and
    Twitter. This means that, rather than posting vacation photos and pictures
    of meals, users post their work experience, professional accomplishments and
    awards, and employment histories. The result is a kind of living,
    ever-evolving resume for each user that provides job recruiters with a much
    more complete picture of potential candidates than any sheets of paper ever
    could. In addition to its role as a tool for job seekers and recruiters,
    LinkedIn also serves as one of the greatest tools in the world for making
    professional connections. This includes connecting with workers in a
    person’s own company via one of the site’s many communication tools, as well
    as connecting with other LinkedIn users around the globe. Like all social
    networks, LinkedIn is at its best when its connecting people that would
    otherwise have had little or not chance to ever meet or collaborate.
  • Global Ranking: LinkedIn is one of the most successful
    single-purpose social networks in the history of the Web, and it shows in
    the company’s current rankings. Not only is it ranked 25th overall in its
    home country of the US, but the site’s strong focus on globalization has
    resulted in it being ranked 53rd around the world. Its continued expansion to
    new languages and regions has resulted in a strong presence abroad, and has
    solidified LinkedIn’s future leadership position. 21
  • Site Analysis
    • Strengths: LinkedIn’s greatest strength comes from
      its very real lack of competition. While there are many other
      professional communications tools, such as Slack or its own parent
      company’s Microsoft Teams, none of them offer the complete "Facebook for work" style of
      social network that LinkedIn does. This dominance in its space is the
      reason why the company was made even stronger through its recent
      acquisition by Microsoft. Not only does it now have leadership of a
      particular social networking market that it essentially created, but it
      also has the financial backing of one of the largest tech companies in
      the world.
    • Weaknesses: LinkedIn has suffered
      possibly more than its fair share of high-profile security breaches.
      While incidents of this type are worrisome enough for personal users on
      Facebook, they could prove absolutely disastrous for LinkedIn users. The
      CEOs of some of the most powerful companies in the world have used the
      site to communicate business dealings with each other. Imagine any
      fraction of such messages falling into the hands of the public or a
      malicious third party. The ramifications could literally result in the
      loss of billions of dollars or thousands of jobs. Thankfully, none of
      LinkedIn’s security breaches have ever reached this scale. But, the
      potential for such a blunder will always remain for a social network
      that deals in such sensitive info and communication. Because of this,
      LinkedIn must always be held to the highest of standards for user
      security, as even one misstep could prove fatal.
    • Future Outlook: Now that it is a
      part of Microsoft, LinkedIn’s future is looking brighter than ever. Its
      offerings and connections can now be integrated into the likes of
      Windows, Microsoft Office, and other nearly ubiquitous Microsoft
      offerings that can be found in almost every office on Earth. This direct
      line of access to business users can only serve to strengthen what was
      already a dominant position for the professional social network, with
      little or no competition anywhere to be seen.


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Determining which of the social networks on this list will come to increased
its clout is, frankly, impossible. The social networking market is one
of the most tumultuous and hardest to predict of any in the tech sector, made
even more so by the shift away from traditional Web-based social networks
towards app-based platforms.
Something as simple as a single celebrity endorsement, or, for that matter, a
single celebrity meltdown, can make or break a service. Even that type of
differentiator is only a single factor in an ocean of influences determining
whether a network will stay in it for the long haul, or if it will fizzle and
fall into obscurity like former giants such as MySpace and Friendster. The above
list, at its heart, is simply a primer for readers wishing to know where to keep
their eyes peeled and where to best spend their time planning for the future.
None of sites and services above may even exist in five years, or one of them
may usurp Facebook, particularly given the king of social networks’ recent
blunders. The latter scenario seems far-fetched now but,
at one time, so did the rise of a former college student-only Web site.

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1. "Top
500 Sites on the Web."

. Retrieved April 17, 2021.

2. Lunden, Ingrid. "Pinterest Sets IPO Range at $15-17…."
. April 8, 2019.

3. Ibid.

4. Ibid.

5. Cooper, Paige. "23 Pinterest Statistics That Matter to Marketers in
2019." Hootsuite. February 27, 2019.

6. Instagram FAQ.

7. Clarke, Todd. "22+ Instagram Stats That Marketers Can’t Ignore This Year."
Hootsuite. March 5, 2019.

8. Ibid.

9. Honan, Matt. "The Most Fascinating Profile You’ll Ever Read
about a Guy and His Boring Startup." Wired.
August 7, 2014.

10. Jeffries, Adrianne. "The Man Behind Flickr on Making the
Service 'Awesome Again.'" The Verge. March
20, 2013.

11. Parfeni, Lucian. "Flickr Boasts 6 Billion Photo Uploads."
Softpedia. August 5, 2012.

12. Ibid.

13. Ingram, Mathew. "Google VC, Tumblr CEO Among the Top
Innovators Under 35." GigaOM. August 25,

14. Delo, Cotton. "Tumblr Unveils First Major Brand Campaign
for Adidas." Advertising Age. June 8, 2012.

15. Ibid.

16. Frier, Sarah. "Tumblr to Introduce Mobile Advertising to
Help Achieve Profit." Bloomberg. March 5,

17. "A New Policy against Self-Harm Blogs."


. February 23, 2013.

18. Liao, Shannon. "Tumblr Will Ban All Adult Content on December 17th."
The Verge
. December 3, 2018.

19. Ibid.

20. Greene, Jay. "Microsoft to Acquire LinkedIn for $26.2 Billion." Wall
Street Journal
. June 14, 2016.

21. Ibid.

About the Author

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Michael Gariffo is an editor for Faulkner Information Services. He
tracks and writes about enterprise software and the IT services sector, as well
as telecommunications and data networking.

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