Social Media Platform Snapshots: Week 3 Blog Reflection

This week in my Intro to Digital Communications course, we focused on emerging social media platforms. Think the ones that aren’t on the front page. No Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, or Snapchat.

Among the chosen platforms were WhatsApp, WeChat, and an interesting platform that allowed Christians to give confession and ask others to forgive them of their sins.

Many of us derived our choices from the Conversation Prism, a chart that “is a visual map of the social media landscape.” It categorizes social media platforms by their category, including Social Bookmarking, Music, Events, Video, and Crowdfunding among others.

The prism is continually updated, now in version 5.0, so it will be interesting to see how it looks in a year or two.

We went into our assignment, with the goal of showing why the app was successful or unsuccessful, and explaining why it was social in nature. We used the following definition as social, from a 2007 scholarly article by Boyd and Ellison:

  1. Construct a public or semi-public profile within a bounded system
  2. Articulate a list of other users with whom they share a connection
  3. View and traverse their list of connection and those made by others within in the system

We also debated how the apps could grow, or their downfalls. An example was brought up of Meerkat, an app that predated Periscope in live streaming, but fell victim to Twitter buying Periscope and pushing the platform.

For my snapshot, I looked at Endomondo. I chose Endomondo, as that is a platform I’ve used many times in the past. It is a running app, that allows users to trace their path via GPS, average and max speed, elevation, and heart rate.

It has three main social aspects. You can post/share pictures and view your friends’ updates in a news feed similar to Facebook. You can also view nearby recommended running routes. In the running community, finding out new routes and knowing exactly how far they will be before running them is a great opportunity. And finally, you can share training plans for marathons, and challenges that you are working towards. Your friends may even give you a “You go!” in the comment.

Endomondo was purchased by UnderArmour for $85 million in 2015, and with only 20 million users, can certainly expand in the coming years. You can view my presentation here.

Next week we discuss the impact of digital culture and new media. In the meantime, I’m off to develop an app that sells for millions.

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