Imagine, if you will, social media as a dinner party.
Welcome! Come in. Here, hand me your jacket. Take a seat – yes, right there, next to Facebook. What would you like to drink?
At the head of the table is Facebook. With 1.06 billion monthly active users (as of December 2012) and more than half of visits accessed via mobile phone, Facebook is king of the party. Problem is, he’s a bit of a bully.
The other party guests are starting to distrust him. He talks quickly, implements rapidly, doesn’t test properly, or really think things through. He’s fast on his feet and he’s still King Pin, but there are disgruntled mumblings among the guests. He runs hot and cold and nobody is really confident anymore that he’ll play nice.
Twitter is the consummate networker. Twitter talks incessantly, dropping random facts into conversation, making inane remarks and name-dropping with the best of ‘em. But she’s also very easy going and thick-skinned – she doesn’t mind it when people drop in and out of conversation, and she loves nothing better than introducing strangers and seeing their relationship develop IRL (in real life).
The too-cool-for-school guest is Instagram. Hipstamatic got up to go to the toilet and Instagram smoothly took her place in Hipsta’s seat. Hipsta-who? Instagram is minimal – a woman of few words and mainly mobile-based. She’s also a bit difficult to work with, with no ability to post active links, so she doesn’t communicate well with the other guests. But everybody’s impressed nonetheless – she’s nice to look at, she’s gives an intimate view into people’s lives, and she’s so streamlined and straightforward.
Pinterest is sitting next to Instagram. He’s a bit confused by Instagram as he thinks that, surely, he has far more to offer than her. Pinterest can link images to websites, making it easy for people to find new businesses and products – he’s very social like that. He has a stylish layout with plenty of eye-candy. He’s also a bit of a chameleon – some days he looks rather Dad-like, with plenty of beautiful home interiors, cute kids and food; other days, he’s all caddish and on-trend.
Tumblr is young – about 24 – with lots of young girlfriends who share their troubles, inspiration and dreams together. She’s a perfect vessel for reflecting opinions – she’s got a fantastic memory and is a natural sharer. She’s a little intimidated by this noisy crowd but nonetheless quietly confident because she’s got a ton of dedicated friends.
YouTube is a bit of a Himbo. He often says inane things and is a bit of an over-sharer. But he’s also a really practical guy, so if you’ve got a techy question or need some hands-on help, he’ll gladly explain and demonstrate until you’ve got it. He’s massively popular for this reason. Many people overlook Google and go straight to YouTube with their questions.
Google Plus is the latest to the table. He’s a bit smart but also awkward, which comes across as aloof. He’s got friends, but they tend to be a closed club. The other party guests are unsure quite how to treat him as he’s got friends in high places – his Dad Google gives him and his other son, YouTube, preferential treatment. People think they “should” get to know Google Plus better but, frankly, the other guests are far more entertaining.
At the other head of the table is your website. As the host of this party, your website is calling the shots – not only is your website adept at making each guest at the table feel special by paying them close attention, but all guests defer back to your website and all conversations link back to your website.
The table is Google. Google’s supporting everyone else, holding onto the food and drink, giving everyone a place at the table. Of course, the table settings keep shifting with each algorithm update, but the guests are too polite to object. They just keep shuffling around the table and trying to be grateful that they’re even got a place there. After all, there is no other table, unless you count those little side tables, Bing, Yahoo! and AOL.
The conversations are your content – your images, thoughts, headlines and subheads, your links, blogs and articles. Your blogs and articles are where real conversations happen – the rest is just a bit of flirting and banter to attract attention. As the host, all opinions defer to your website. And so the conversation goes ‘round.