Have you joined Pinterest yet? No? Come on, it’s the hottest thing since sliced bread. There hasn’t been this much excitement about a new social service since, well, Google+…or was it Path?
Putting aside the sudden and growing appeal of Pinterest’s user-friendly scrap-booking service, a story that is as interesting is the fascination with shiny, new social media services. One minute, we’re falling over ourselves signing up for Google+; the next it’s all Pinterest, all the time.
In many respects, we’re like children on Christmas Day. We enthusiastically unwrap a new present, play with it for a short period of time, and then after the novelty wears off, we go looking for the next present.
It’s a strange landscape that says as much about short attention spans and instant gratification as it does about the steady flow of new social media services that capture the spotlight. It is like we’re addicted to new and shiny, and that our addictions are being fed by the steady flow of new temptations being developed.
This reality plays right into Fred Wilson’s “fragmentation thesis” in which “the world of social media is fragmenting into dozens of social platforms that are best of breed for a certain kind of social engagement”.
The challenges for social media services is the competition is constant, fierce and always evolving. It means consumers are fickle, unpredictable and always looking over the horizon for the next new thing. For brands, there is a constant struggle trying to get a handle on where to focus their social efforts. Do they dive into Google+ or embrace Pinterest…or both?
As new social media services emerge and the fragmentation increases, a new class of social startup is emerging that sees an opportunity in providing some structure to the situation.
A case in point is Engag.io, a startup financed by a group of investors that includes Wilson. The Toronto-based company wants to create a “universal inbox” for social media conversations as well as blog comments. It’s a way to de-fragment the social landscape.
You can expect more companies focused on the same problem as Engag.io will come out of the woodwork as the social media world expands, fuelled by the desire for new and shiny.
This steady flow of new startups isn’t a bad thing, it’s just a new challenge, which has become part of the social media parade that keeps going and going.