Although it’s only 2 weeks old, the latest social networking site Pheed already has over 1 million users. However in the social media world, raking up users is always easier than retaining their interest. A quick lowdown, Pheed is the latest social network startup by a couple of guys from LA. Essentially it combines features from different social networks like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest (and then some). Same as always, you sign up (using email, Facebook or Twitter), you blog, update your status, share videos and images, you subscribe to accounts and people can subscribe to yours. You can comment on any uploaded element, like it, hate it, share it, use hashtags and so on. An addition to the plethora, it allows you to upload audio tracks and broadcast information. Even just listing out the features was a tedious affair for me and unfortunately, I can see using Pheed ending with a similar fate.
It’s like this – imagine being the host of a party where you’ve invited all your different social circles. Your family, colleagues and friends. It’s often too much effort because you can’t keep things simple. You have different dynamics with different groups and mixing them up means complicating matters. This is exactly how I am with social media platforms. I have a different dynamic with Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram, the way I use them, the content I share and even the time of the day I use them. Mixing them up on one platform like Pheed is not something I would go for nor can I see them offering anything unique enough for others to be swayed.
The only twist to the classic tale is the idea of being paid for sharing information on social media and montizing social content. I suspect they expect celebrities to be attracted by this idea and set up channels where people can subscribe and get access to backstage videos or songs that aren’t affiliated with labels. A few celebrities like Paris Hilton and David Guetta have already taken the bait. But in order to consistently get people to subscribe on a monthly basis, they will have to produce heavily unique content which is not already available on television or YouTube. Singer Miley Cyrus claims having already added 20,000 subscribers. Details are strongly desired. Are these pay-per-view subscriptions or monthly subscriptions? With pay-per-view subscriptions starting at $1.99 and Pheed taking 50% of all revenue, is the revenue going to offset the effort of putting up exclusive content?
Brands could perhaps use them to share research or expert advice / knowledge that people may be willing to pay for. But again my gut feeling is, that’s not going to happen. Sooner or later paid information always gets leaked becoming available for free. That’s the nature of the Internet. Besides, while I can imagine myself paying to watch a video or hear a song, I’m not sure that I would be willing to pay to read a status update – no matter how valuable the content. If Pheed allowed each content update to be marked as paid or free, that might be add an interesting dynamic.
In short, although a new cookie in the social network website jar, I’m not sure if there are too many people looking to get a taste. Pheed is certainly not going to make it to my bookmarks tab. Nevertheless, if you are more optimistic than I am, feel free to comment and let me know why.