Up-and-coming social media sites
Published: Tuesday, June 26, 2012
Updated: Tuesday, June 26, 2012 23:06
By now everyone has heard of Facebook, Twitter and MySpace. And although it seems that everyone has an account on one of these sites, other social media outlets have begun to make a name for themselves as well.
Three in particular that seem to be picking up steam are Reddit, StumbleUpon and Pinterest. While these sites may have different purposes and divergent users, one thing they do have in common is their increasing fan base.
Pinterest, for one, recently became the fastest site to ever reach 10 million monthly unique visitors in the United States, according to TechCrunch.com. So many people want access to the site that it is currently available by invite only.
Not only are people visiting Pinterest, they’re staying once they get there. According to studies performed by comScore.com, metrics show that Pinterest users spend an average of over 98 minutes on the site. This figure ranks them behind only Facebook and Tumblr amongst social media sites.
The idea of Pinterest is simple. The site provides its users with an online pinboard. Once they’ve signed up for their account, the site’s users can “pin” images or videos they find around the internet to their board for others to see.
Other users can then visit their board, comment, like or even re-pin things they like to their own board. Users who find boards that frequently add material they enjoy can “follow” the board. This allows them to be notified when the user posts new content.
Once the account is created, pinning new content to your board is easy. On Firefox, pinning something to your board is as easy as creating a bookmark. In fact, the “pin it” button is in the bookmarks drop down menu.
Users can find nearly anything pinned up. New products, pictures of food shaped like cartoon characters and funny images and memes abound.
Another great way to find interesting things online is StumbleUpon. Users log on to the site and create an account. While setting up their account, users are asked to select the topics in which they are interested.
Stumblers select interests such as Beauty, Drawing, Health, Rock Music or even Adult Humor. The site then adds a small toolbar to their browser. Unlike other, more obtrusive toolbars, this one is rather easy to turn off on Firefox, and on Chrome it exists simply as a little round button until you begin using it.
When you want to begin stumbling, all you have to do is press the Stumble! button. The service uses the topics you selected and the ratings of other users to randomly take you to a website which has materials about which you will hopefully be interested.
As users stumble, they are able to like or dislike sites. They can choose to stumble through a specific topic rather than all of their interests as well. They can even like pages that they find on their own. If no one else has liked the page, the user will be asked to categorize it and specify whether it is suitable for work.
The last site, Reddit, is a little different. It is a social news website. On Reddit, users can share links or short text posts. Other users of the site then vote the post up or down, ranking it based on how interesting it is.
Users of Reddit can chose to browse through “hot,” “new” or even “controversial” topics from the main page. The main page defaults to the hot list, where posts about a wide variety of topics can be found.
Here too, users can create an account. After doing so, users can subscribe to different categories, allowing them to read new posts about subjects they like on their home page. Topics here are called subreddits and cover everything from world news to religion.
Whatever your interests may be, using sites like this can help you learn more about them. A brief warning may be in order, though. Visitors to these sites frequently look up to find that hours or even whole evenings have disappeared.
For more information, visit Pinterest at www.pinterest.com, StumbleUpon at www.stumbleupon.com and Reddit at www.reddit.com. If you do, don’t feed the trolls.