We’re about to see the curtain come down on a busy year in social networks. 2013 has seen Facebook change and become more “mature,” Twitter aim high, and Google+ take aim… at the world. Or at least try to. And how was 2013 for social network users? What are people looking for in a social network? And who was the most retweeted person in the world? Here’s a look at social networks in 2013…
Facebook – time to change
Time waits for no man… even Facebook. Facemash recently turned 10 years old – this was Mark Zuckerberg’s first experiment and the predecessor to the social network that has conquered the world. Facebook was born soon after, on 4 February 2004. On the eve of its tenth anniversary, Zuckerberg’s social network is still the star of the social world, but alternatives such as Snapchat are waiting in the wings (and in the meantime are taking a significant share of the audience among teenagers). “Innovate or die” seems to be Facebook’s battle cry, and in 2013 they changed (almost) everything. Goodbye old news section and hello to News Feed, a new, completely revamped home page that offers larger images, multiple feeds and a uniform appearance between web and mobile versions. News Feed was launched last March, but many users are still waiting to have it activated on their profile. Graph Search, the new search tool for Facebook that lets you find anything and everything, from discovering which of your friends are “fans of Star Wars and Harry Potter,” to also finding “friends of my friends who are single and live in my city” launched in January. Graph Search is not available to everyone, but you can take a look at the preview image here.
2013 also saw the arrival of Facebook Home – an ambitious project launcher for Android, which has not yet found favor with the general public – and improvements to Facebook Messenger, which has a new style, lots of additional functions, and the now seemingly inevitable stickers. It would also seem that the time is ripe for a social network with fewer kittens and more news, as shown by the recent algorithm rehash from Facebook, which tries to promote the quality of news and content. Facebook is becoming very serious. Or is it? All we can do is wait until 2014 to know how the most popular social network in the world will evolve.
Twitter – the little bird is spreading its wings…
The blue bird with 140 characters has started to branch out. In 2013, Twitter launched its video sharing service, Vine. The app soon started to get noticed, not just for the spread of porn that accompanied its debut (now slowing down), but also for its immediate popularity, which has meant the app has now been taken up by Android and, recently, by Windows Phone. Twitter has also steadily improved the usability of the web version of its app, for example allowing the direct synchronization of messages between all devices. It’s more convenient, as well as safer, thanks to the introduction of the new log-in verification system.
And, in an effort to fly high, the social network also launched its music streaming service, Twitter #music, although this doesn’t seem to have gone down too well in the general public. With a constantly growing number of users, however, the sun continues to shine in the Twitter sky. But there are clouds on the horizon, especially now that Facebook seems determined to steal a piece of the action by copying… ahem… introducing hashtags and trending topics. How will 2014 look for Twitter?
Google+ – my dad says…
The social network from Google wants to get rid of users’ Cinderella complex, and win over users who until now have remained happily satisfied by Facebook News Feed and Twitter timeline. Google started thinking big and in 2013 staked a really big claim, totally revamping Google+. The Big G social network is now all new, and offers SMS integrated with Google Hangouts, GIF conversations, HD calls on any device, and more. In fact, Google+ is actually a pretty nice network, and also offers interesting photo editing tools.
But Daddy Google insists that we use its social network even when we don’t feel like it, for example by integrating Google+ into the YouTube comments. Now, those who want to leave a comment on YouTube will, by necessity, have to have a Google+ profile, so have to give up their anonymity. Goodbye to trolling? Perhaps, but in the meantime the network is protesting: the new system of YouTube comments would seem to encourage spam. How will 2014 treat Google+? We hope it will continue to improve, but give up on trying to impose its presence at all costs …
Users – Free to Choose
Meanwhile, what have the users made of social networks? Loyal but not always so, they have continued to use Facebook, Twitter and Google+ convincingly, but have not given up looking for alternatives. Like, for example, Snapchat, the photo messaging app that’s increasingly popular among teenagers and has recently introduced its own version of the Timeline. And speaking of loyalty, users of 2013 have shown particular interest in somewhat spicier apps. This was indeed the year of Bang with Friends and Tinder, two applications based on Facebook that help set up intimate encounters between third parties. All this anonymously, more or less… Confronted with this somewhat bleak scenario, it’s comforting to know that Instagram recently celebrated its third birthday with the hashtag #love. Love always triumphs, even among social network users… A tribe that never cease to surprise us, even when it comes to unpredictable spiritual inspiration. The most retweeted person in the world on Twitter? The Pope. Wow, maybe we’re even deeper than we thought!
Original article created by Laura Ceridono for Softonic IT