With the holiday season in full swing and 2013 winding to a close, it's a good time to reflect on the year in social and look ahead to what might be the next big thing in 2014. While Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest reign supreme, there are some new, unique and niched social networks poised to make a big splash. Here are six social networks I'm keeping an eye on in 2014:
If a viral blog post comes across your Twitter stream, it's likely to have been published on Medium. The brainchild of Twitter co-founder Evan Williams, Medium is a long-form blogging platform powered by an algorithm that helps identify the best posts on the site. Now open to public submissions, the best minds in tech, design and culture write for Medium. If you've got a bright idea or story to share, consider publishing on Medium.
If Instagram and Quora had a love child, impossible would be the result. Lily Cole's new social network allows users to ask for and receive help for free. Requests range from "I wish for someone to show me how to start screen printing T-shirts at home" to "I can help with motivation to exercise #health." Savvy marketers and freelancers may be able to mine leads and find vendors on impossible, but it's probably built more for altruism than commerce.
An Instagram competitor that touts itself as a "visual search engine," Mobli just picked up a $60 million investment from América Móvil that includes distribution to its mobile users. Along with an endorsement from Leonardo DiCaprio, it will be interesting to see what Mobli does with their new influx of cash.
Backed by Google and Amazon, Nextdoor allows users within a defined community to make or request recommendations for everyday services, share neighborhood news and sell or loan out items. Imagine your neighborhood Facebook group on a dedicated network and mobie app, without the awkwardness of having to field a friend request from the weird guy down the street.
Shots of Me
A Justin Bieber-backed social network was inevitable. The mobile app has one function: selfies. Users can and must share selfies on Shots of Me, which only works with a phone's front-facing camera. Will Shots of Me overtake Snapchat in the teen market? Will Western civlization ever fully recover? Thankfully, comments are disabled.
Live sporting events typically dominate social media, so it seems like a no-brainer to create a social network devoted entirely to sports. Sportlobster does just this, giving users the ability to follow scores live, predict results, create content and interact with other fans. You can follow your sport or sports of choice and jump right into the conversation with minutes of creating an account.
What new social networks have piqued your interest? Let me know in the comments!