insideview social network social discovery

What’s the difference?
How social discovery takes social networking a step further

Most people on Facebook have “friends” that they know or have met in real life. Family members, social pals, people you went to high school with, those you’ve met on business trips or at events, and friends of friends make up the majority of Facebook social networks.

So how is social discovery different? Instead of finding friends online so you can stay in touch with them, you get in touch with people online so you can make new friends.

Social discovery isn’t based on real-life relationship foundations. With this strategy, you connect with strangers on the basis of shared interests, geographical proximity, or even randomly. The get-to-know-you phase comes after the initial connection.

Popular social discovery sites

While social discovery is new in terms of massive popularity, it’s not new to the Internet. A bunch of social discovery sites have been around for years, and are now enjoying huge traffic spikes and user sign-ups as Internet denizens turn to social discovery to spice up their friend feeds:

  • Tagged, a social discovery site with more than 100 million current users that emphasizes meeting new people, was founded in 2004.
  •  StumbleUpon first appeared in 2001, with the purpose of helping people discover new websites of interest by randomly “stumbling” through links grouped by categories or similar content. The site now has 25 million users.
  •  Pinterest, an “online pinboard” that introduces users to people with shared interests in clothing, recipes, hobbies, pets, and more, launched for invite-only beta testing in March 2011—and already has more than 10 million registered users.
  • Mobile apps like Highlight, Sonar, and Facebook’s new Find Friends Nearby, allow you to instantly connect with strangers who are in your immediate geographical vicinity.

Discovery and social business

The popularity of social discovery is good news for social enterprises, who can now find more ways than ever to reach out to customers and potential customers. In fact, social discovery lets customers quickly find businesses that interest them, and makes it easier to connect with those companies.

For the most part, social discovery is breathing new life into the slight staleness of social networks. This can only lead to good things.