- September 05, 2012
The modern smartphone has led us out into a world of unrestricted communication and possibility. And yet, despite this tidal shift, the social networking giants of the past decade are showing their age. Facebook, Pinterest and Twitter now demonstrate an emphatic display of bloat, whilst quick-witted competition gains traction.
For those looking to stay ahead of the curve, perhaps the most compelling competitor is a little-known company called Path. Valued in the vicinity of $250 million within a year of its launch, Path is a mobile-only app characterized by a beautiful, responsive design; delightful interactions; and far-reaching features for the well-connected person on the go. Richard Branson, founder of the multi-billion-dollar Virgin Group, went so far as to describe Path’s founder, Dave Morin, as a “genius” — quickly embossing his words with a $40 million investment into the fledgling startup. Widely touted as the next social-media darling, Path should make an appearance on any self-respecting smartphone in very short order.
Meanwhile, just as Path has begun to undermine the flagging dominance of Facebook, Fancy is attempting to do the same for the oddly recent arrival, Pinterest. Latching onto the socialized shopping experience that so many have come to repurpose Pinterest for, Fancy takes the matter several steps further by allowing users to purchase any saved items right there in the phenomenal Fancy app. With an exploding audience, rumors of both Apple and Facebook acquisitions and a well-considered design, Fancy is the antithesis to the confusing, mobile-failing Pinterest of the past 12 months. For the modern shopper, Fancy is undoubtedly poised to become one of the most important social networks of the future.
Finally, lacking any semblance of a long-term business plan, Twitter has descended into erratic and off-putting behavior. Implementing ill-considered designs in its apps, slamming the door on its third-party supporters and spewing advertising upon its users, the real-time service has begun to drastically shed its relevance. Sensing an opportunity, App.net has just revealed itself to the world. Although still in its nascent stages, App.net’s outset goal is to establish itself as a stable, long-term means for the intellectual discussion of design, fashion, business and technology. Building a paid wall around the service, App.net is a veritable utopia when compared to Twitter — obnoxious Wonka accounts utterly disallowed, journalists and entrepreneurs approachable, and celebrity parody users thankfully missing. For the person invested in real-time news and discussion, App.net is fast becoming the place to see and be seen.