6 social networks to watch in 2014

An Instagram competitor and a Snapchat rival are working their way up the ranks, as well as a site for sports lovers.

With the holiday season in full swing and 2013 winding to a close, it’s a good time to reflect on the year in social media and look ahead to what might be the next big thing in 2014.

While Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest reign supreme, there are some new unique and niched social networks poised to make a big splash. Here are six social networks I’ll keep an eye on in 2014:

1. Medium

If a viral blog post comes across your Twitter stream, it’s likely someone published it on Medium. The brainchild of Evan Williams, Twitter’s co-founder, Medium is a long-form blogging platform powered by an algorithm that helps identify the best posts on the site.

Now open to public submissions, the best minds in tech, design and culture write for Medium. If you have a bright idea or story to share, consider publishing it on Medium.

2. impossible

If Instagram and Quora had a love child, impossible would be the result. Lily Cole’s new social network allows users to ask for and receive free help.

Requests range from “I wish for someone to show me how to screen print T-shirts at home” to “I can help with motivation to exercise #health.” Savvy marketers and freelancers may be able to mine leads and find vendors on impossible, but it’s probably more for altruism than commerce.

3. Mobli

An Instagram competitor that touts itself as a “visual search engine,” Mobli just picked up a $60 million investment from América Móvil that includes distribution to América Móvil’s mobile users. Leonardo DiCaprio has also endorsed Mobli. it will be interesting to see what Mobli does with its new cash influx.

4. Nextdoor

Backed by Google and Amazon, Nextdoor allows users within a defined community to share neighborhood news, make or request recommendations for everyday services, and sell or loan out items. Imagine your neighborhood Facebook group on a dedicated network and mobile app, without the awkwardness of having to field a friend request from the weird guy down the street.

5. Shots of Me

A Justin Bieber-backed social network was inevitable. The mobile app has one function: selfies.

Users share selfies on Shots of Me, which only works with a phone’s front-facing camera. Will Shots of Me overtake Snapchat in the teen market? Will Western civilization ever fully recover? Thankfully, comments are disabled.

6. Sportlobster

Live sporting events typically dominate social media, so it seems like a no-brainer to create a social network devoted entirely to them. Sportlobster does this. It gives users the ability to follow scores live, predict results, create content and interact with other fans. You can follow your sport(s) of choice and jump right into the conversation within minutes of creating an account.

What new social networks have piqued your interest?

Steven Shattuck is vice president of marketing at Bloomerang. A version of this article originally appeared on SocialMediaToday.com.

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