Too Many Options: The Social Platform Feature War
Today it was announced that Instagram (owned by Facebook) is going to be adding video soon. While duplicating features across each of these platforms is nothing new, as a fairly active social user, it's incredibly frustrating to decide which apps to use which features on which platforms and the part that most non digital professionals wouldn't even think about, but the why.
For photographs alone you have Flickr, Facebook, Google+, 500px for storage and sharing; Instagram, Camera+ for taking pics, filters and sharing (but not tagging, storing so much), then Instagram and Twitter pictures (with filters) for sharing through Twitter and Instagram shares to Facebook and Flickr. And Tumblr.
So say you actually want to do things properly and by properly I mean the most streamlined approach that will leave you with the best search results, the most views at any one time, the ability to share and aggregate fluidly and a way to showcase your life - what do you do? You want to put them on Facebook, because that's where your friends are, and you like the likes (everyone likes the likes)... but you want to ensure you're sharing on Instagram, but not too much, because Instagram over-share is not cool, plus you want the likes. It's the reward. Plus, you want to store them on Flickr to tag, organise and share with other family and friends that may shun Facebook. Plus you have to think about your Klout score - so are all your active platforms connected - and what does that mean? Does Klout care that you are posting the same image in at least three places across the Internet? No, but Google might.
I don't have the answer, and this is close to being a rant, but my question is - do all the apps and platforms we love to use HAVE to be everything in one? In a few years time will be looking at fewer platforms because they have all merged and become three or four mega-platforms?
Facebook owning Instagram and looking to up their game in video will put them at a more competitive place to YouTube and Google+. While Google+ is definitely improving to be more user friendly and more enjoyable to use, a big fact is that, for now, having a presence there is really important if you want to show up in search. YouTube channels are now combined making them a massive contender.
Yahoo bought Flickr and Tumblr - will we see a merger there - the apps and ops together are quite strong. Flickr, like Facebook, added video a while ago, but it's main rival was Vimeo and hasn't taken on as much as other aspects of the site. Twitter have Vine and have banished Instagram's, but own the audience when it comes to custom service, sharing with extended reach and people engaging with an audience they may not know as well as their Facebook friends, but might just enjoy more...
I'm at a loss. To use all the platforms well, you need to have your own social strategy for your self, your own content calendar and time to spread out your content and take the time to target to your personal audiences. Maybe the answer is to post less, but post better. Failing this, the platform that manages to by the most other ones may win - or for me, the person who creates the tool/app that lets me post to all these channels in a fluid manner will get my attention.