These budding new platforms are a response to the generality of Facebook. Facebook has been the reigning winner of the majority of online users for some time now, but there are many facets of our social interaction that have, thus far, gone untapped in the Internet world. These latest platforms are tapping into some of our more specific needs concerning online social interaction.
Considered the artsier Pinterest, We Heart It is unique because of its user-base with roughly 80% of its users under 25, and 70% of them female. This app has captured that ever-elusive demographic that is Generation Z girls, arguably the biggest trend-setters in social behavior online. The site is a self-described “home for inspiring images and the people who heart them.” But, perhaps most importantly, the site is comment-free. The absence of trolls and negative comments keeps the site positive and age-appropriate for its young audience. In fact, Huffington Post even called We Heart It one of the most positive places on the internet.
If Facebook and Paypal got married, their child would be Venmo, a peer-to-peer payment app. You can send messages, post status updates, and there is even a Facebook-like newsfeed where you can look at your friends’ transactions (just the memo for the transaction, not the amount). “Just Venmo me” is fast becoming a part of the common vernacular as Generations Y and Z get hooked. This app has functions that surpass those of competitors like Popmoney and Paypal. The app supports sending, requesting, and receiving money, as well as reviewing past transactions. And the best part: Venmo is completely free. All data is sent over a 256-bit encrypted connection—the same encryption method used to protect classified government information. So you can feel rest assured that your bank account information is being kept safely.
Self-defined as “an online country club for people with more money than time, Netropolitan seems to be just that, minus the physical perks of an actual country club such as a golf course and clubhouse. The fee to join is $6,000, and an additional $3,000 annually in membership fees. “I saw a need for an environment where you could talk about the finer things in life without backlash,” states Touchi-Peters, the platform’s founder, without a touch of irony. Needless to say, this is a social media platform catered to those with deep pocket books. Surprisingly, however, Touchi-Peters may have been right about the so-called “need” for a social network of this sort. During its launch, the website crashed due to an abundance of traffic to the site. And given the high membership fees, the platform won’t ever need to be monetized, so it’s ad-free and likely to stay that way.
Path is Facebook on a smaller scale. The limit for the number of your contacts? 150. It’s an app for those who prefer conversing in group messages with their close friends and family. The platform forces you to narrow down your connections to those with whom you interact often. You can also interconnect with your other social networks such as Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Foursquare, and WordPress, grabbing your previous profile information, life events, and contacts from those platforms and adding it to the Path platform. Path also gives you some options not offered on other social medias, such as the ability to view those who have seen your post. And if you’re a fan of the “like” button on Facebook, then you’ll like that this app goes a step farther to give you some additional options: smile, frown, laugh, love, etc.
Created by a group of designers and artists as a response to Facebook. Ello offers up a social networking experience with greater privacy; it does not request real background information or even your real name, and the platform’s manifesto states that the currently ad-free platform will not collect user data to sell ads. You can mark people you’re following as a friend or noise and then you can sort your newsfeed to show one or the other. In terms of mutual interaction, your connections on Ello behave more like followers. Right from the start Ello has had an impressive reception, despite only being in beta and invitation-only. Last week it was adding 45,000 new users every hour. If you can’t snag an invitation yourself and you don’t want to wait for the platform to open up to the public, invitations are selling on Ebay for a whopping $5,000.
These networks are tapping into the more specific needs of the daily consumer and thus rounding out many of the different facets of our online social interactions. The well-known Apple trademarked phrase, “There is an app for that,” has never been more appropriate.