Monday, November 5, 2012

New social network blends best of Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr

An estimated 200 million people ? two-thirds of Americans ? use a social network. We are constantly updating our Facebook status, tweeting our Instagram photos and being bombarded with LinkedIn invites. But new social media platform Pheed is betting its mashup approach will fill an undiscovered niche.

?If you put YouTube, Twitter, Facebook and Tumblr in a blender, you?d get Pheed,? said David Gerzof Richard, a social media and marketing professor at Emerson College. ?The company looked at those four platforms and said, ?What do we like about these and what don?t we like?? ?

Pheed lets users share music, videos, photos and even live streams on a timeline. The layout and ability to share content may be an improvement on other sites, but that?s not what sets the platform apart.

Pheed, which has signed up more than a million users in-cluding Miley Cyrus, Paris Hilton and other celebs in the past two weeks, allows users to charge for content through subscriptions or pay-for-views. Users get half the revenue, Pheed takes the other half.

Already skeptical about the chances of another startup bumping Facebook from the top of the heap, Boston University mass communications professor Mina Tsay-Vogel thinks fees could sink the site.

?The minute people have to pay for these things, they?re not as appealing,? Tsay-Vogel said. ?Especially when they can get the service for free somewhere else.?

Even if users are willing to pay, our online time is already dominated by social networks that seem increasingly indispensable. Not even the mighty Google has been able to make Google+ catch fire.

?There?s a constant influx of new media, but we have a limited capacity of what we can absorb,? Tsay-Vogel said. ?To succeed, a company has to offer us something unique. Something we can?t get anywhere else.?

Despite the intensely competitive marketplace, Pheed could catch on.

?I didn?t think Twitter was going to work,? Richard said. ?But then, once it reached a critical mass of users, I got it. The trick is to get that critical mass.?


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