There are so many strong beliefs, perspectives and views within the social media industry, and therefore this post is going to be more controversial than we normally publish. The different “camps” of social media enthusiasts, professionals and celebrities are almost as polarized as the political parties within the United States and that means emotions can run rampant. Nevertheless, I am known for saying what needs to be said and I will attempt to do that without the emotionally charged words that often spark heated words.
There are several key reasons why new social networks like Ello and Tsu appear on the social networking scene with frequency. Having an understanding of these reasons is essential to make informed decisions on whether to chase after these numerous shiny new and incredibly distracting sites.
A Few Reasons Why Sites Like Ello and Tsu Appear
Trust – Facebook has a long history of building mistrust with its users and business customers. Constant changes, privacy issues and a lack of care or concern for their users. In recent years, Twitter has begun to make users and app developers weary with massive changes to API’s, announcements of things users oppose and other concerns. This leaves the door open to new ideas and competing social network entrepreneurs to believe there is an opportunity.
Limited Results – There are literally millions of brands and marketers using the top social networks, however few are getting real results. The lack of focus, understanding and results being achieved on the main platforms, gives way to a desire for something different that could magically change the results marketers are getting.
Human Nature – As human beings, we are programmed to often take the path of least resistance. Fight or flight as it were. Sometimes as humans, we want the easy way and sometimes something new, entices us that it could be possible.
Boredom – Also being human, we get bored easily. We are often attracted to shiny new things when we get bored and new social networks that get a lot of attention on blogs and from those we are connected to, gets the best of us. We want to be a part of the crowd and be entertained with new a new look, new capabilities and ideas.
Market Size – The overall social networking space is massive. If you come up with something that takes off in this industry, you are assured to become the next billionaire. Even though playing the lottery has better odds than that actually happening, some are allured by the chance and a new startup is born.
VC Gambling – Venture capital firms exist to invest. If they do not invest in new startups, they have no returns. Their models are based on hitting it REALLY big with a tiny percentage of the startups they invest in and losing everything on the majority. The pressure for VC’s to find and invest in the next really big thing is enormous.
When social networks are not trusted, not innovating anymore and polarize their customers and users, newcomers that hope to take advantage of that will appear. It’s that way in any industry.
Why Are Ello and Tsu Doomed?
Understanding a few of the reasons that we will continue to have so-called “Facebook killer” new networks continually popping up, is to also ask whether or not they will actually succeed, gain long-term traction or fail miserably. There are a few things to consider about the ultimately doomed fate of these two specific networks.
Polarizing Niche – Unlike the early days of Instagram and WhatsApp for example, Ello and Tsu have very tight niches that fuel their initial traction. Niches of new social networks are required if they are going to virally scale to critical mass as Pinterest, Instagram and WhatsApp have. But when the niches of these new shiny social networks are largely polarizing, it dooms the network to obscurity very quickly.
Let’s take Google Plus as an example. Starting out it was “largely” made up of two main niche groups of people, those that hated Facebook and those that were employed somehow in the social media industry, with a subgroup of Google fans that will use and love anything they produce. As we jump forward, these polarizing groups have dominated the Google Plus active user presence and prevented it from becoming mainstream, achieving critical mass and prominence.
Conversely, with Instagram and Pinterest, the niche groups were made up of largely females and iPhone users. These early niches were not at all polarizing, enabling these two new social networks to easily grow and obtain the larger populations, thereby reaching the critical mass we see today. Neither of these two social networks were devised on negative branding or user messages against any other social networks, but rather positive features and capabilities that the industry and users clearly wanted and would use.
Both Ello and Tsu were born out of negative messaging that focuses on how other platforms suck. Although some of the points might make sense, at the end of the day shiny, new or anti-something never wins, market share does. When you look at the niche market segments of users that are attracted to these two new networks, polarizing would have to be considered an understatement.
To be clear, if you like a social network, by all means use it. But if you are doing social media marketing I suggest you focus on the ones that already have critical mass, accepted methods and reach, and leave the chasing of shiny new objects to those that have plenty of inexpensive time on their hands. Real social media marketing requires substantial knowledge, patience and consistency of proper strategies and activities.
There are no shiny objects or new networks that will magically create real results. Let those that don’t have real social media results spend their time chasing the newest shiny thing. If in the end it begins to get traction, becomes mainstream and can realize long-term sustainable results for you or your brand, then consider investing the time to add it to your mix.