Top social networking giants to watch out for in 2018

  • January 4, 2018

Today, internet has become a vital element of our life and you would find it in every home and workings spaces. Doesn’t matter whether you’re in a hospital or a bank, in a school or sipping coffee and enjoying delicacies in a café, the moment you switch on the Wi-Fi, you come across numerous networking sites. Until the time you have access to the internet, you’re not lost, even if it is in the middle of the desert.

One of the highly coveted elements of the internet is the social networking sites. According to marketing analysts and experts, majority of people who are online spend most of their time accessing various social media websites. While riding a subway or walking the streets, you will come across many people uploading their pictures on Facebook or Instagram or typing a text message on WhatsApp or Facebook Messenger. What made these social media websites suddenly so popular? The ease of connecting with each other and our willingness to stay in touch with our friends, family and the loved ones.

Today, most of the people own a smartphone. The invasion of smartphones in the global market has also increased the number of the users and the time spent by them on the social media channels. Gone are those days when you had to have access to a laptop or a desktop in order to go online. With smartphones in your hand, you have the power to go online and perform the desired tasks effortlessly.

Social media has intensively influenced our lives and the way we interact with other people and carry our daily affairs. Two decades back, who would have thought that the whole communication system will have such a drastic makeover? Who would have wondered that you would be able to connect with the people you want to in such a convenient manner that you would be able to talk to them, see them and send them to message instantly?

Can you imagine a life without social networking websites? Do you think you’ll be able to find another alternative to stay connected with your loved ones and the family, apart from the social networking sites? It has affected our lives and changed the way of our interaction with people. Human life is all about networking, whether it is business networking or our personal lives. It is an integral part of our daily routine. Let us discuss some of the benefits of the social networking websites on our personal as well as professional lives:

Easy communication: When it comes to communication, social networking websites are indomitable. You can instantly reply to your customer’s questions and queries. Staying connected with your friends and family was never so easy.

Stay competitive: The demands of your customers keep on changing, and you need to be aware of these demands. It’s easy to track your customers online on social networking websites, analyze their behavior and listen to what they say. It’s the most crucial aspect from the growth perspective. You can’t afford to overlook the needs and the demands of your customers and social media provides you an excellent platform to embrace yourself with their evolving demands.


Global exposure: Today, you will come across many blog posts on various social media channels which will give you insights of the current happenings of other countries. You will even be able to be friends with people from other countries. This will provide you with an excellent opportunity to know more about the culture, religion and the lifestyle of different countries, thus providing you a global exposure. Similarly, if you have a business, which can cater to the global needs of the consumers, then you have a perfect platform to showcase your products and services to the global audience.

Fall in love: Well, you might have come across many of the stories in your friend circle and your relatives about how they fell in love with someone over social media and got married to each other. Many of the users have started using these sites for dating purpose as well. So, if you’re looking for a companion, then it could be your “good to go” platform.

Top social networking giants

Most of the people are aware of some of the popular social networking websites such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc. But there are several other networking platforms which have added a new level of convenience to the society. Let’s have a look at all these productive and useful game-changers. This list isn’t arranged rank wise. It just provides the history and some unknown facts of the power players of the social networking ecosystem.

Facebook: We don’t think there exists a human being who is not aware of the Facebook. Certainly exceptions are always there, but in this case, even exceptions would be minimum and aren’t worth to be considered. The ever-increasing vogue of this social giant hails back to the year 2004 to Harvard’s Kirkland House Dormitory. Mark Zuckerberg, the founder of the Facebook dropped out of Harvard to concentrate on this project, which started receiving enormous success. The journey of Facebook from the dorm room to the office in downtown Palo Alto, then from Stanford Research Park to Menlo Park, California. The journey of Facebook portrays the global acclamation and accolades received by the company. Today, there are more than 2 billion users on Facebook and it’s a sweet spot for businesses across the world to promote and market their products here. Indeed, it is a crowded marketplace, but still, you can’t afford to miss it. With the outstanding marketing efforts, you can tap some of the untapped business opportunities here.

WhatsApp: Do you remember the time when people used to send text messages through SMS with those symbolic smileys? No attachment and no picture. Suddenly the whole messaging community got influenced by the emerging power player called WhatsApp and it was the hot topic of discussion among every group. Today, it is the most popular instant messaging platform and a worthy modern-day success story. Brian Acton and Jan Koum the two founders of WhatsApp were rejected for the job on Facebook when they applied after leaving Yahoo. The world thanks God for this rejection as it gave them WhatsApp. After getting the fund of $250,000 from the five associates from Yahoo the app was launched in 2009. Though there were lots of ups and downs initially, which made Koum frustrated and he decided to give up, but with the combined efforts of the duo, the app eventually started embracing the widespread global fame. By the month of February in 2013, the app crossed the mark of 200 million users and its staff grew to 50 members. Soon after WhatsApp was bought out by the Facebook for a huge amount of $19 billion. Today, WhatsApp boasts of more than 1.4 million users and the head office is situated in Menlo Park, California.

Instagram: If you’re another selfie lover who just can’t wait to upload the picture online and let the world see it, then Instagram is the perfect platform you. The world’s number one photo social platform, Instagram was founded by Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger in October 2010. Within just two months of its launch, Instagram crossed one million users. While achieving milestones a major accolade was achieved when Instagram became “iPhone app of the year” in December 2011. The major turnover was marked in April 2012 when Instagram was launched on the android phones. Zuckerberg was inspired by the intense success of Instagram and on April 9th, 2012 Facebook bought Instagram. On February 26th, 2013, Instagram crossed 80 million users. Today, Instagram has more than 150 million users and over 56 million photos are shared per day and the headquarters is situated in California.

Twitter: The story starts from when the Odeo was founded. Founded by Noah Glass, Odeo was going to be a podcasting platform. Evan Williams, who was also one of the earliest investors in Odeo later became the CEO of Odeo. Biz Stone, one of Evan’s friends and an ex-Googler joined Odeo as well. Later, a web designer Jack Dorsey and an engineer Blaine Cook joined the team. They came up with the product which was a platform for podcasting. Soon Apple announced its podcasting platform and Odeo hit the floor as their product was no longer relevant. This led to the formation of the idea called Twitter. In February 2006, Glass, Dorsey and a contract developer from Germany, Florian Weber represented the idea to the rest of the company and it was named as Twttr, which eventually became Twitter. Today, Twitter has more than 330 million users and over 550 million tweets are sent per day. The character limit of a tweet increased from 140 characters to 280, keeping in mind the age of smartphones. The headquarters of Twitter is situated in San Francisco, California.

Pinterest: It is an online pinboard where users pin and re-pin the images. It is a hot “picture dominating” social network. The development process of Pinterest started in December 2009 and the closed beta version was launched in March 2010 for research and testing. Soon after the open beta version was launched for the public. As per the co-founder Ben Silbermann, the initial growth of the company wasn’t as per the expectations. The remarkable milestone was the launch of iPhone in March 2011 brought more than expected number of users with an unexpected number of downloads. In December 2011, the website became one of the top 10 largest social networking websites. Today, Pinterest has more than 200 million users and more than 50% users are outside the United States. The headquarters is situated in San Francisco, California.

LinkedIn: The biggest professional social network LinkedIn was founded by Reid Hoffman in late 2002.Hoffman, a Stanford graduate, understood the importance of building and leveraging his network from the early days of his life. In August 2004, LinkedIn crossed 100 million users, a mark of pride for a social network of its own kind. It was late in March 2006 when LinkedIn witnessed its first month of profitability. Scrutinizing the scope of smartphones and the global usage, in February 2008, the company launched the mobile version and it added loads of new users to the network. LinkedIn traded its first shares on May 19, 2011, at $45 per share. Due to the widespread vogue of the evolving professional network, the shares rose as much as 171% on the very first day on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) and closed at $94.25.  Another major accolade was when Microsoft announced to acquire LinkedIn on June 13th, 2016. The deal was completed on December 8th, 2016 and Microsoft paid $26.2 billion, which also the largest acquisition made by the Microsoft till date. Today, LinkedIn rule with more than 467 million users with having its offices in more than 30 cities across the globe.

YouTube: YouTube was co-founded in February 2005 by Chad Hurley, Steve Chen and Jawed Karim, who were the former PayPal co-workers. In May 2005, the beta test site was launched for testing purpose. Later in November 2005, YouTube received funding from Sequoia Capital. In October 2006, Google announced to acquire YouTube and YouTube moved to the former GAP office in San Bruno, California. The growth was quite steady with some controversies in the middle, when Viacom In its 2007 lawsuit against YouTube, claimed that the company intentionally didn’t put down the copyrighted clips. They thought that the presence of infringing copyrighted material on YouTube was fully intended to drive traffic and increase YouTube’s network, market share, and enterprise value. But when Google acquired YouTube, all the legal formalities got resolved as Google had a huge pocket. Today, YouTube has more than 1.5 billion logged-in monthly users and if you can’t find a video here, then it probably doesn’t exist.

Snapchat: “Snapchat isn’t about capturing the traditional Kodak moment. It’s about communicating with the full range of human emotion — not just what appears to be pretty or perfect.” This statement was written by the co-founder Evan Spiegel in his first post on Snap Inc, back in 2012. To introduce, Snapchat is a one-to-one and group messaging app, which enables the users to send the photo, video, and text messages that disappear after several seconds.

It all started when Evan Spiegel and his co-founder, Bobby Murphy met at Stanford University and came up with Picaboo, the first version of Snapchat, in 2011. The idea was to develop an app that would send photos that would eventually disappear. The initial Picaboo app was launched on the iOS App Store in July. It was easy for iPhone users to take screenshots, which put the whole idea in jeopardy. Instead, they came up with a notification mechanism, which would enable the users to see who took a screenshot of their photo. The same year in September, the app was rebranded as Snapchat and was re-launched in the App Store of iOS. In November 2014 Snapchat in collaboration with Square came up with Snapcash. This facility allowed users to conveniently send and receive the money from Snapchat into their bank accounts.

In April 2016, Snapchat achieved a huge milestone when Bloomberg reported that Snapchat was generating 10 billion video views per day, which were 2 billion more views per day than Facebook had reported in November 2015. By June 2016, Snapchat had 150 million daily active users, surpassing Twitter. This was indeed a major milestone. Today, Snapchat has more than 173 million users.

KakaoTalk: One of the leading instant messaging applications of Korea, the journey to success wasn’t like a fairy tale for KakaoTalk. It was full of toil and obstacles. JB Lee, a graduate of Seoul National University, founded a company that does document solutions for mobile and web. Later, he met Brian Kim, one of the renowned personality in Korea’s tech world. Together they founded IWILAB in 2006 and started working on various web 2.0 projects. The launch of Korea’s first smartphone changed the whole scenario as Brian and Lee saw scope for building mobile based products. Caught in the dilemma of whether to develop products for PC or mobile, they finally decided to go for mobile based applications, which was the start of a new success tale. They Launched KakaoTalk in March 2010. Within just six months, i.e. by September 2010, KakaoTalk had registered more than 1 million users. The wonderful part was that this growth was organic one with zero ad spending. Later in December 2010, KakaoTalk crossed the mark of 5 million users. In October 2014, KakoTalk collaborated with Daum, the second largest internet portal of South Korea. Today, Kakaotalk has more than 50 million active users and it is one of the most popular Asia-based mobile messaging applications. It is rapidly expanding in Vietnam and Indonesia. The head office of KakaoTalk is Located in an industrial hub called Pangyo Techno Valley, Seongnam City.

WeChat: One of the most important applications and a widely used mobile messaging applications in China, the success tale of WeChat is indeed an inspirational one. Users here can do just about anything, including playing games, sending money to people, making video calls, ordering food, reading the news, booking a doctor appointment, and much more. It has entirely changed the way of communication in China and has also benefited the Chinese business community. In October 2010, a small team from Tencent started working on a mobile chatting application. The primary motive was to break down the telco barriers that existed and develop a mobile messaging application, which could work on any phone or any mobile service. On January 21st, 2011, Tencent came up with the application called Weixin in Chinese. The English name wasn’t yet suggested as the target was to attract the Chinese market. The gradual shift of customers from 2G to 3G and the introduction of new features added up to the vogue of WeChat. In March 2012, WeChat crossed 100 million users. This success came in just 14 months, which was a short stretch of time. In April 2012, Weixin became WeChat, which was a strategy to not to confine the giant messaging app to China and make it global. In September 2012, WeChat hit 200 million users. In January 2016, WeChat was being used in courts as some of the judges started using text and photo-sharing features during trials, an accomplishment of its own kind. Today, WeChat dominates the Chinese market with nearly 1 billion users. The growth strategies of the company were always up to the mark and the foundation was strong. The app exactly helped the society in bridging the gap in the required areas.

Did you learn the lesson?

After reading the interesting facts about how these social networking players were found, it could be well concluded that success didn’t come overnight for any of these startups. Their journey was indeed full of blood, sweat, hard work and lots of determination and dedication. There were moments when some of the co-founders felt like quitting, but ultimately their dedication didn’t allow them to do so and it eventually became a success story.

The foundation of these top social networking websites was based on the proper feasibility and the market research. It is said that you can expect your business model to prosper only if you bring some relevant change to the society through it. If you just overlook the development of your society, then your business model is just too reserved for the society’s liking. Today, these social giants are roaring with success and there are many more startups sprouting up frequently. It would be interesting to see how these players sustain in the fiercely competitive ecosystem.


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