January 10, 2013; Source: CNN Money

Nonprofits are aware of potential gains in fundraising, online traffic and awareness from social media giants like Twitter, Facebook and, to a lesser degree so far, Google Plus. But the sector should also stay abreast of where social media is going in 2013. CNN Money recently picked out some up-and-coming social networks that might gain enough traction to rise and shine this year. They are:

  • Chirp: Talk about the social media tool of the future! Chirp emits a mechanical bird-like sound from a user’s phone to share images and messages. Other phones within audio-reach and with Bluetooth connections will instantly register the sound and download the shared content.
  • Chirpify: This one integrates with Twitter and Instagram to allow users to sell, purchase and pay for goods with just one “buy” reply. The platform can also serve as a “social storefront” where supporters can participate in giveaways and promotions. Chirpify also allows those selling to evaluate their user engagement and social media data.
  • Conversations: If your organization is using HootSuite to schedule social media posts and tweets, you may want to consider using Conversations, a new “internal communication” tool for organizations to share ideas and collaborate all on one platform. Conversations can also be used to manage contacts and can import contacts from Gmail.
  • Flayvr: The Pinterest of mobile apps, Flayvr is a social media platform for users to seamlessly organize their videos and photos to share.
  • Medium: From Twitter creator Ev Williams, Medium seems to be envisioned as a social network that rewards high-quality and in-depth information with attention, though it isn’t clear who is the judge of what is worthy of our attention. While anyone will be able to comment on blog-like posts on Medium, not everyone will be able to submit their own. The platform is still in beta form but it is already presenting posts on a wide range of topics.
  • Pheed: This new social media platform enables users to broadcast content—and to set a price on what access to their content is worth. Pheed is currently closed to new users, but celebrities like Miley Cyrus and Paris Hilton are reportedly already on board. We’re not sure that this one would be of much service to the nonprofit sector, as, at this point, it seems to be little more than a platform to help celebrities cash in on their fame—with a cut for Pheed, of course.
  • Thumb: Thumb is yet another photo-sharing mobile app that is becoming very popular. This app also incorporates “thumbs up” and “thumbs down” buttons to evaluate shared images, which might be handy in evaluating the appeal of images for website graphics or online campaigns.

These platforms can tell us a great deal about where social networking may be heading. It’s probably too early for most nonprofits to jump on any one of these bandwagons unless they happen to have excess social media staff to spare, but it’s always good to peek at what may be coming around the corner while also understanding that some of these “next big things” won’t quite make it. –Aine Creedon