Yikes! New social media sites and apps are popping up at a dizzying rate. Do you find it hard to keep up? For me, it’s like trying to stay current with all those supernova teenage celebs who are all the rave but are too young for my 44-year-old brain to process.

But just because a new social tool exists doesn’t mean it’s worth your energy. Some sites and apps will crash and burn if you give them enough time. Kind of like Tom Cruise.

Then again, there are some sites you should keep your eye on and possibly add to your social media mix. Now, I’m not saying you should adopt them at this exact moment if you’re not ready. You should “rock it” on established sites, such as Facebook and LinkedIn, before jumping into the deep end. Again, like Tom Cruise.

Let’s look at the sites and apps you should at least start thinking about:

Anyone who has not heard of Snapchat is probably holed up in Siberia, crouched in a WiFi-challenged igloo surrounded by a moat filled with frozen alligators. (That’s just my guess.) What’s intriguing about Snapchat—which so far attracts younger folks—is that the content you share disappears in a matter of seconds. Seconds? What’s the point unless you have ADD? Despite its counterintuitive business model, Snapchat continues to grow. It’s still just about 1/15 the size of Facebook and 1/3 the size of LinkedIn or Twitter, but it’s worth keeping an eye on, especially if these younger Snapchat users eventually age into a mature market.

Have you ever wished you could be a fly on the wall? With live streaming—via Twitter’s Periscope and other apps—you let your audience do just that. Plus, there’s a sense of urgency with live streaming, which draws in even more folks. You can share everything from behind-the-scenes footage to live product demos to whatever is growing in your fridge. Personally, I think live streaming is where it’s at, and it has a brighter future than Snapchat.

Facebook Live
Another live-streaming tool! At first, only celebrities could use Facebook Live (a Tom Cruise joke is tempting here, but I won’t do it), but now it’s available to most users on the Facebook app. People can watch your live video and see the replay when it posts to your timeline. Some reporters are using the app between on-air shots for live-at-the-scene stories. Some weather channels are also using it for teaser material on upcoming broadcasts. There’s a lot to “like” about Facebook Live.

Don’t be put off by its name, which sounds about as frivolous as bubble wrap … or a McDonald’s-coffee lawsuit. Blab, a live-streaming site, takes an innovative twist to live streaming. Imagine hosting a live talk show with up to four guest speakers displayed on video. (It’s like you’re Oprah, but without Tom Cruise jumping on your couch!) Plus, viewers can post questions to be answered by your live panel. If you’re building yourself up as an industry expert, seriously consider this platform.

Yes, plenty of other social media tools could have made our list. Yik Yak. Ello. Shots. Hyper. But will you pleeeeeeeaaaase promise me, my dear reader, that you’ll master the most popular sites—the ones that attract your greatest audience—before trying new ones? I can’t express this enough. These new sites are like celebrity tabloid magazines. You may spot them in the supermarket aisle, but you don’t have to take them off the rack. Stick with your basic grocery list, and add the fun stuff when you’re ready for some more spice.




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