The last two weeks have been tough on Facebook. Some are deleting their accounts in protest of the Cambridge Analytica scandal, while others denounce the deaths of social media and compare their effect on us with sugar or smoking.
But online socialization is not inherently bad for us and that's why many migrating away from a company does not mean that social media will disappear completely. Instead, Facebook's awareness-raising will spread to various companies that will satisfy different parts of our brains.
I'm watching the rise of alternative social media platforms with excitement. If you are looking for a change, here are some new platforms that exist today:
If you are just looking for a simple replacement and not a new kind of experience, here are some examples of them Platforms that you could try.
Vero . This is an Instagram alternative that recently reached 3 million downloads. The growth resulted from user frustration with Instagram's non-chronological feed. Since then, Ayman Hariri, the founder of the company, has become aware of industrial action practices, and I would imagine that restraint was difficult. His fast advancement shows that people are hungry to explore something new.
Mastodon.social . Much like Vero's response to Instagram, Mastodon is an open source alternative to Twitter, which has tripled users over the past year. In addition to the features of Twitter, it also allows the creation of private communities that I suspect will be a key component of the future
Musical.ly . This is a popular lip-synching app acquired by Toutiao for a reported $ 1
Reddit . Reddit is not new, but it's hard not to mention. What makes a great online community is a shared passion. Reddit is home to many of these, such as / r / keto, / r / LegalAdvice or /r/askscience.
YouTube. YouTube videos used to be links that you found on Facebook. In 2012, YouTube made a small change to its recommendation system, and everything has changed. Watching time has increased by 50% a year over the next three years, making it a real target and just starting out. Over time, I believe that YouTube will become the most important Google property and surpass the search.
Many companies in this category are basically media owners, but unlike the incumbents, content is not just about content: they will use the building blocks of social networking software (just like a Software company uses a database) to build a real community.
Tingles . ASMR (Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response) is a physiological phenomenon in which certain soft sounds produce physical pleasure. Rather than encountering them in the wild, a genre of videos was designed to trigger these positive, euphoric feelings. 20 million people regularly watch ASMR videos to relax, so Tingles is building a Netflix for ASMR because YouTube is not optimized for that.
Caffeine . Caffeine is like twitch on steroids. It makes it very easy for anyone to transfer the video game they play, and I would not be surprised if they were to expand into other areas over time. In view of the growing mobile presence, synchronous (live) experiences become interesting again.
Peloton . The Unicorn Fitness Company has built a decentralized SoulCycle community. The drivers have messianic admiration of the instructors and it has an incredibly active and supportive community (today at FB Groups, but could easily be ported without loss of retention). It's a non-traditional example of what an online community can look like.
NewTV . Meg Whitman (former CEO of HP) and Jeremy Katzenberg (Disney's former chairman) launch "Hollywood-style, short-form videos for mobile use." It's like Netflix, but only for short form videos.
Anchor . Anchor makes it easy for anyone to start a podcast, and it has a lot of unique materials as a result.
Much of the Facebook unbundling will feed into messaging groups and apps. Those who have deleted their Facebook account are more likely to use WhatsApp, but there are several other platforms worth mentioning:
Telegram . The messaging app has built a strong following in both Russia and the cryptocurrency community. It's probably the next thing I've seen for a second coming of Internet Relay Chat Rooms (IRCs), which are the big active chat rooms of the 1990s. Like IRC, it suffers from a discovery problem: There is no good way to find new channels. I assume that will be fixed over time.
Discord . What began as a gaming chat service has become a consumer slack for various Reddit communities. Like Telegram, discovering new channels is not great, but the community has built a directory.
Houseparty . Houseparty is a group of FaceTime apps that have gone through several waves of popularity. It suffers from the "chin problem" that all mobile video conferencing has: you would never take a picture of your face from below, but that's the perspective in which you hold the phone when you use it. I suspect that this problem can be solved by clever use of technology.
Disclosure: Y Combinator has invested in Reddit and Tingles.