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Is the future of social media interest-based networks?

Darren Jamieson

Most businesses publish social media content to Twitter and Facebook, but will these two leading social media platforms be replaced by interest-based networks?

What is an interest-based network?

Facebook and Twitter are open platforms where content on a wide range of topics can be found. Interest-based networks are built around a particular topic, and are about shared interests. This reflects how people socialise offline. Friends are often chosen because of shared interests.

The difference between Facebook and interest-based networks

Facebook offers content based on Facebook friends, and is also optimised for the viral distribution of content. If you are interested in photography, for example, you will tend to see content on photography only if your friends also post photography-related content.

Facebook and Twitter will continue to be important for the distribution of content, but interest-based networks appeal to a more targeted audience for promoting a company brand. Interest-based networks, unlike Facebook and Twitter, are not about how many friends or followers a user can gather, but are for the sharing and discussion of a particular topic. They create tribes where the shared interest in a topic is more important than broadcasting details of your life.

It is common for discussions on interest-based networks to be between strangers who have never, and will never, meet. Unlike Facebook, they are not platforms for keeping friends up to date with a person’s social and love life.

Will Facebook and Twitter be replaced?

It’s unlikely we’ll see a day when interest-based networks outmuscle the big two, but content creators should not ignore them. The content created for these social platforms will need to be different to Facebook content. Typically, businesses broadcast company news on Facebook, but on interest-based sites, posts need to be part of a discussion, or start one themselves.

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