Florida A&M University
(BLACK PR WIRE/FAMU-TALLAHASSEE) "" Since the launch of Facebook in 2004, the use of social media has continued to dramatically increase in popularity. In the last eight years, social media has grown to include over 200 applications which are used by thousands of Americans on a regular basis. According to Social Media Today, the most popular social media applications being used are Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Friendster. However, new and innovative social media networks are being introduced almost daily, especially with inventive platforms around for creating social media websites like Ning.
Social networking sites are great tools for public relations professionals because they help to promote increased communication and connection between hundreds of millions of people in thousands of markets throughout the country. Social media sites Facebook and Twitter have completely redefined the way public relations is used. Ten years ago, it would have been difficult for us to wrap our minds around concepts such as having hundreds of "friends" or "followers," or instantaneously sharing photos with classmates, coworkers and loved ones. However, these elements have become a part of the social networking norm.
Three new social media websites that have been introduced this year and are further changing the way people are communicating are Branch, Medium and Pingram. Twitter founders Evan Williams and Biz Stone are behind new social media sites Branch and Medium. Similar to Twitter, both Medium and Branch let users share pictures, articles and text, but they also offer distinct new features that set them apart.
According to Death and Taxes Magazine, "Branch is looking to do what Facebook, Twitter and Google+ haven't been able to do: foster actual conversations." Branch gives users the capability to use a combination of 750 characters and sound bites to create real and lasting discussions with one another.
Medium is an invite-only network for users to share photographs and writing samples. The network is appealing because it gives users the ability to share their work and gain feedback from other uses as well as develop their own audiences. Although Medium is currently only offered by invitation only, it is hoping to expand to the general public in the next year.
Last but not least, Pingram is a combination of social media networks Instagram and Pinterest. Pingram allows photos to be viewed and shared, similar to the pins on Pinterest. The network has gotten a lot of positive feedback thus far and estimates around 25 million users.
With Instagram rated as the favorite social network among teens by Nielsen, it is obvious that photo-sharing networks are topping some of the most well-known social media outlets in terms of traffic and popularity, and seem to be the new trend in social media.
"A picture is worth a thousand words," says senior public relations student Kourtney Berry. "That's why Instagram is my favorite social media outlet and I think Pingram might be a definite possibility."