This year has been a transitional one for media platforms. Blogging systems like Posterous and Jux have bitten the dust while Tumblr has cemented its position as a mainstream format following its recent acquisition by Yahoo. This year has also seen the introduction of Vine Twitter's video creation network and a host of other lower profile platforms.
So which platforms should you keep an eye on? Which ones that will follow Instagram, Pinterest and now Tumblr from the sidelines to the heart of social media? Here then are a quintet that certainly have the potential to make that transition.
Pheed - At its heart Pheed is a social network not unlike Facebook where users can share images, videos and their thoughts. The big difference is that Pheed is aimed at users who want to make a bit of money from their output. So users are given the option of putting their pages behind a paywall where they charge between $1.99 to $34.99 a month for access. At the moment the users are mainly celebrities, musicians and entertainment types. However you can imagine that at some point in the future Pheed could be of use to publishers as a paid channel that accompanies their online presence that offers exclusive content. It will be fascinating to see how this one develops.
Branch - The team behind Branch have a bit of a pedigree in social media as they include Twitter founders Ev Williams and Biz Stone. So will Branch ever rival its 140 word counterpart for popularity? Not a chance, but it may occupy an interesting niche and grow to become an important part of the social media world. Users sign in with Twitter and then set up a discussion to which they invite others. In some ways it is bit like Quora - the question and answer network - but more exclusive and with more discussion and opinion. Think of it as blogging for those who like to ignite a debate or two.
Urturn - Ever wanted to customise the images you post on Facebook by adding slogans and graphics, but haven't got the time and never bothered to get to grips with Photoshop? Well if that's you then the new-ish British (they have their HQ in London) start up Urturn is well worth checking out. Essentially it is a site (and an iPhone app too) that hosts a series of templates that enables users to add captions, words, snatches of audio and video and whole load more to images. There's some fun stuff too, so with one click you can add bunny ears to a person on a photo.The images are then published on the Urturn network - which has the look and feel of Pinterest - as well enabling the user to share them on Facebook and Twitter. Urturn has a very good chance of becoming huge as it is fun, easy to use and fulfils a need. There isn't a significant amount of mileage in Urturn yet from a publishing or brand perspective, but give it time.
Skyword - The oldest of our ‘new' platforms, Skyword has been around for a couple of years now and has just scored a major milestone in attracting over £5 million work of funding - its second major chunk of investment. Skyword is essentially an automated content marketing system. It offers a suite of features to brands and companies including recruitment of content marketing savvy journalists, content creation, measurement and analytics. Its definition of content marketing is pretty narrow at the moment in that the site targets companies who want editorial for their websites. It is mainly focusing on smaller and medium sized companies for now too. One other element that is worth mentioning is that Skyword also provides a platform for agencies who want to expand into content marketing. This includes a workflow that Skyword says is designed to increase efficiencies in content creation and governance, increasing account profitability. At the current time Skyword seems to be focussed on the US, but with its war chest of funds expect it to develop a more international flavour.
Posthaven - In spite of the failure of Posterous and Jux to go mainstream a new breed of blogging platforms is starting to emerge including Glipho, which focuses very much on words, Ghost which is coming soon and is very striking to look at and also the great new hope Posthaven. Developed by the team that originally were behind Posterous, Posthaven is a blog platform with a difference in that it is paid for - you invest $5 per month and you can create up to ten blogs - and its makers say that it will be around for ever and never be acquired or shut down. It certainly is packed with features and is ideal for high-end bloggers and corporate clients. Whether it gives Wordpress a run for its money remains to be seen.