Social Media – Top 25 (Update)

You WinIn August, 2010 I made a list of my 25 favourite social media platforms.

It’s amazing to think how much the social media landscape has changed since 2010, and in other respects, how little it’s changed. I figured it was high time to update the list, and see where some of my predictions went, and where my top choices of 2010 land today.

A total of 10 (that’s 40% for you math nerds) were removed from the list completely. And the order (yes, it’s a countdown to the best) of the rest all changed, with the exception of one.

So, what am I missing? (I know I missed something.) Agree? Disagree? I’d love to hear about it!

The Countdown

25. WhatsApp (New Entry)

Is this even social? I don’t know. It made it on my list because it’s killing the old fake paradigm of telecom segregating voice, data and SMS.

It’s all data, people. You’re not fooling anyone.

24. Flixster (Previously 16)

I love movies. This is a social site/app that has been trying to be the social network for movie reviews. It’s simple – I show you what I like, I do a rating, I do a mini-review. You do the same, and the social sauce happens. Unfortunately, unlike what Goodreads has done for books, Flixster has failed to make anything truly noteworthy, and is instead begging to be outdone (which Facebook has gladly started working on). I’m still there, but barely.

23. Slideshare (Previously 18)

Still there, still great, still shares your PDFs and DOCs in a social environment. I’m just not as excited about it as I once was.

22. Snapchat (New Entry)

For all it’s negative publicity, ruining the reputation and dignity of teenagers everywhere, Snapchat is actually a pretty neat tool for sharing photos with your group.

Just remember kids: once you send it, it exists forever somewhere!

21. Foursquare (Previously 11)

Geolocation was all the rage in 2010. Now, it’s “functional” or “creepy.” I used to like this tool to announce where I was, when people might care. I still prefer this to the sloppier version available in Facebook or Twitter, but like the Yelp “Check In” better, and as part of a more comprehensive platform.

I suspect Google+ will kill the whole category once and for all, if they ever get their local/places/plus stuff all sorted out nicely.

20. StumbleUpon (Previously 19)

In the age of scary pages doing stuff to your computer, and more and more data living in networks and apps than websites, this is still a pretty cool tool to refer cool content, and discover cool content. Digg is dead(ish), and Reddit is wildly more popular than StumbleUpon. Then Pinterest took the concept and applied it specifically to photos, made a beautiful interface, and dazzled us all. It’ll be interesting to see what the future holds for old SU.

19. Vine (New Entry)

There were quite a few also rans in the “let’s do for video what Twitter did for text.” Vine won, and Twitter bought them. (For “let’s do for photos what Twitter did for text”, see Instagram.) This hardly appears to be a fad, and is probably going to be around a while.

18. Goodreads (Previously 17)

If you read books, this is your social network.

17. SoundCloud (New Entry)

Ever watch a 3 minute “video” on YouTube, there’s one image the whole time, and some otherwise interesting audio.

You wondered to yourself, “why is there no “audio” version of YouTube?”

Well, SoundCloud might be it. I say might for a couple reasons: it’s not 100% free (although there is a free option for casual users). The iOS app is pretty awesome, but the web interface, embedding tools, sharing, etc. could be better. I wish this company well – it’s obviously a tough niche to succeed in, yet it’s something we’d all love to have at our fingertips.

16. imgur (New Entry)

Instagram for nerds. The most interesting photos you find on Reddit are probably hosted on imgur.

15. Google+ (New Entry)

We love it. We hate it. I dunno, but here it is at number 15.

14. Pinterest (New Entry)

Pin those kitten and puppy photos! Ya, it’s pretty cool. For people in highly visual businesses, it’s a pretty useful application.

13. Meetup (Previously 8)

Meeting people in groups, in real life. It doesn’t get a lot more social than that.

Still love the tool, but it hasn’t changed much, and could be a lot more to it, in my opinion.

It’s also entirely subscription-based, which means that the odds of some “organic” gatherings happening are pretty low. I created a free Victoria Tweetup group (which isn’t free for me), just to encourage organic, more spontaneous meetups here in Victoria, BC.

12. Yelp (Previously 5)

Do you love food? These guys still rule the review world. There have been some pretty successful competitors in this space over the past few years, but Yelp managed to hold it’s own.

11. VIMEO (Previously 9)

The artsy-fartsy YouTube? Well, sort of. These guys have found a decent niche, and are rocking it. You’re not cool if you don’t have a VIMEO channel.

10. Flickr (Previously 4)

I love Flickr, and it’s (finally) getting better. Given their tools for embedding that have made it so appealing to people like me, a (truly, truly) die-hard fan base, some slicker and slicker apps over the last couple years, and Yahoo! seeming to want to carve out a piece of the social pie (with Tumblr added to their mix), I see a bright future ahead for Flickr.

9. Tumblr (Previously 14)

It’s a blog platform, it’s a social link sharing tool, it’s a journal, it’s a micro-blogging platform, it’s an image sharer, and it’s a bunch of other stuff. Ya folks, this thing is whatever you want it to be. And it finally makes my top 10.

8. YouTube (Previously 10)

I don’t have all week to write about this one. The world’s foremost video sharing site, which is becoming so much more. Put simply, YouTube is where popular culture through visual media is defined.

7. Instagram (New Entry)

It’s a simple way to share photos, and you can cross-post to Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr and Flickr. Huge critical mass makes this a platform with huge marketing potential too. It does qualify as “Twitter for Photos,” but you’d be wrong if you thought it stopped there.

6. LinkedIn (Previously 2)

It’s still important (Seriously, get on it already. I’m talking to you, Derek!). I’m just not as excited about it in a “woo hoo this is awesome” kind of way.

5. Blogging (Previously 3)

I like blogging. I like other people’s blogs. I like the commentary and exchange on blogs. I like the decentralized nature of blogging – you’re own piece of the web. It’s a decentralized social platform.

4. Facebook (Previously 6)

I like all my friends. 99% of them are on Facebook. I got to Facebook because 99% of my friends are there.

I dislike almost everything else about Facebook.

Despite this, it still moved up 2 ranks in my list. What am I crazy? Well folks, critical mass is important. What else can I say?

3. Reddit (New Entry)

You know that cool meme you found on Facebook? Ya, it started on Reddit. I guarantee it.

Pretty much all the nerds from Digg abandoned ship and went to Reddit a few years ago. Since then, the communities on Reddit have flourished, to the point where it’s collective posts pretty much represent the barometer of popular culture (including all the NSFW stuff, too).

I read a lot of stuff on Reddit, but don’t post a lot. In fact, I spend far more time on it than I do Facebook and Twitter combined. That would make me a “lurker.” Some of it makes me go “aww”, some of it makes me go “grrrr”, and some of it makes me go “huh.”

tl;dr Reddit defines popular culture. Then it’s reposted to Facebook.

2. Podcasting

I hardly “watch” TV (it’s on a lot, but I don’t stare at it like I once did). When I’m at home or at work, I’m typing stuff on a computer or device of some sort. With a 9-year-old around, the TV is usually busy with Minecraft anyway.

I also hardly listen to the radio, yet I commute a lot – some days over an hour. So, I listen to podcasts. And I love it (so does my family). We listen to Stuff You Should Know a lot, as well as Freakonomics Radio. I enjoy Canadaland, Geek Life with Steve Dotto, The Green Screen of Death, and lots of others.

I actually started my own podcast recently, with a friend of mine.

Read my post about the Renaissance of Podcasting to get an idea of where I think this stuff is going.

Podcasting is another form of decentralized social media, like blogging.

1. Twitter

Yup, still tweeting. Still loving it. I must admit, I do it less often now than before, but as a medium I still admire it’s sheer brilliance. So, instead of giving it a 99%, as I might of in 2010, I’ll give it a 92% in my world. That score still beats everything else, though.

So, what dropped off the list?

7. Digg

One of the founders left, and a bunch of business decisions seemed to anger all the nerds. So, all the nerds moved to Reddit.

12. Gowalla

Also ran Foursquare. It was pretty cool. But it died.

13. Posterous

I put this site on par with Tumblr in 2010. Seriously, what?!

I had high hopes for these guys – at the very least as a simple alternative to WordPress for bloggers.

Posterous is gone, and Tumblr got bought by Yahoo! for about a billion dollars. Now, for the first time since this whole social thing came on, Yahoo! has two great social platforms in their digital portfolio – Flickr and Tumblr.

15. Sprouter

I don’t know the whole story. I thought it was a great idea, but it clearly didn’t catch on the way I thought it might.

20. Hunch

Again, no idea what happened. If you go to their URL, you get eBay. Again, it seemed like a great idea, but probably just didn’t get the critical mass it needed.

21. meme by Yahoo!

I thought this one was a really good idea. It was sort of the best of Instagram and Twitter in one pretty good interface, albeit a web-only interface. It never caught on. Yahoo! shut it down in 2012.

22. FriendFeed

As widely predicted, Facebook bought it, borrowed some features, and did nothing with the site. It looks about the same, and it’s still there. Hey, subscribe to me on FriendFeed, sucka.


A challenge for Twitter with lots of merits. I’m a bit sad to see this one go, too. (Note: the site is still live, but my profile seems to be long gone.)

24. MySpace

Even Justin Timberlake can’t seem to make this website relevant. Things are still on there, but I don’t know a soul who uses it. Hey, want to be my MySpace friend, friend?

25. Google Buzz

We won’t talk about this one.