Everything New Is Old Again
Facebook is the undisputed social media leader. with more than 800 million active users around the globe, nobody does social media like they do. This makes them the perfect target for competitors and the perfect example for other, less successful, companies to follow.
They say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery and that certainly seems true–especially as demonstrated by the degree to which everyone is copying the format originated by Facebook (and before them MySpace; Friendster.) Recently Posterous changed the way its users interacted and posted to its site. Their new site format, ‘Posterous Spaces‘ improved security and privacy for users. As a result they have seen usage jump more than 300 percent, which bodes well for others thinking about changing the user experience for their visitors.
This week StumbleUpon updated its interface, inviting users to experience its site in a whole new way. This is a good thing for existing users who will find their experience enhanced with new tools, a new look and new ways of sharing web content with their friends. For new users the updated StumbleUpon offers an experience that is more enhanced with tools that will seem more familiar for anyone who regularly uses social media to interact.
StumbleUpon is a great site for anyone who regularly peruses blogs or other web content (of which there is plenty) and wants to share this information with their friends. The more sharing StumbleUpon users do the better it is for their site. this revamped StumbleUpon is also good news for web content producers because it increases the likelihood their content will be shared.
The fact is, as social media evolves more and more sites will begin to embrace the techniques that work (think Facebook) and abandon the ones that don’t (think Friendster) the same way they have embraced the hardware that works (think iPhones) and abandoned the hardware that doesn’t (think Palm Pilot). In this way the marketplace will determine what is successful and what is not, and make the social media experience a less stressful, more beneficial experience for producers and users alike.
Channels are the StumbleUpon version of Facebook pages. They’re accounts from brands, celebrities and sites such as ESPN, Campbell’s Soup or Chelsea Handler. You can Follow a Channel, then Stumble it when you want to look through the suggested pages.
From a marketing standpoint, these Channels could have real power, but for now, they’re underwhelming. The problem lies in the fact that they aren’t programmed by the Channel owner (or so it seems). They appear to pull the feed items based on search results, so what you’re getting is similar to the results from a Google alert.
The other problem is visual – for example, the Food Network Channel is pulling the same photo for every post and the text is broken.
If in the end, brands can program their own channels, then it could be of real use as a marketing tool.
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