The Long Tail of Social Sharing

by Ashok Nayar

Pinterest, Tumblr, Facebook, Blogging, Twitter.  It seems like we’re approaching the long tail of sharing online.  The question is how?  What’s the best medium for sharing photos?  Where do I tell my friends about what I’m currently doing?  Compartmentalizing and understanding how to share all that we consume online and offline is an important part of any social media strategy.  It’s an important part of understanding the ongoing paradigm shift in sharing.  No longer is one platform most efficient in sharing all mediums of information.  As we are given more platforms, and our social graph is diluted among these platforms, it’s important to think about how to share, and why we share.

Content is king. The problem with that is that content is extremely easy to disseminate these days.  But that complicates things as the signal to noise ratio is completely out of whack.  But as more and more platforms cater to specific aesthetics, interests, and mediums of content,  users can now choose where and how to share content they consume.  This is both good for the user, their social graph, and for the content creator.  It allows content to efficiently find the most viable distribution platform where similar minded users will share and enjoy said content.  For example, Pinterest, on a current unheard of tear,  is slowly shaping up to be the best place to share photos.  But particularly, photos related to style, design and food.   And Pinterest doesn’t need to enunciate that as their users have decided that.  And that’s a good thing.  It shows that users have taken to a platform to share a very specific set of content.  While it may sometimes seem cluttered at first glance, there’s actually very little noise on Pinterest.  Hence the hockey stick growth chart.

Probably the most interesting thing about the long tail of social startups is that it’s not a long tail in a traditional sense.  And that’s primarily because of how many social startups there are today.  In an economic sense, the startups we talk about are actually the blockbusters. They’re on the left hand side of the graph.  Where the long tail model comes into play here is in the way users approach the startups.  They have to completely rethink the way they understand sharing.  So in a market where there’s even five blockbusters, that’s four more than we’re conditioned to accept.  But it seems like that model is what’s going to win out.   Understanding how to accept various platforms and knowing how to take full advantage of them.  And that’s when users will have power over what tracks.  Over what content hits and where it hits.  Because as Mark Twain said, “Public Opinion… is the voice of God” and the internet has shown that to be truly so.