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Most Promising Social Media Startups: What to Expect in 2011

Despite the hype, this year’s best social networking opportunities for designers are still the classics. Thanks to a dash of mobile device innovation, your favorite networking sites have become even stronger. Here are five key pillars for your social networking repertoire in 2011.

1. Instagram: Photos, Faster


For designers, networking is often a matter of sharing your vision. With Instagram, sharing has never been simpler. This iPhone app combines photo-altering tools with flawless integration into an array of social networking sites. Instagram is a photograph’s fastest route from your iPhone to the world, giving your social contacts an immediate sense of your location, your status, and your taste.  No wonder this brand-new app surpassed one million downloads in 2010.

2. LinkedIn: What’s Old Is New

Happy holidays LinkedIn!

This year is a perfect time to take a fresh look at the granddaddy of business networking, LinkedIn. This sedate professional networking site is as low-maintenance as they come; it takes no time to set up a profile for yourself, and even less time to maintain it. LinkedIn remains more popular than Facebook for professional networking because it’s all business. No Farmville requests or awkward memes distract from the pursuit of professional partnerships. Best of all, LinkedIn is poised to go public in 2011, providing the network with a flood of renewed interest and publicity.

3. Flipboard: Rebirth of the Magazine


The most promising design format change of 2011 is the Flipboard, an iPad app that restyles site content to resemble a magazine.  The format is flexible, gorgeous, and free to anyone. Flipbook’s site touts the ease with which a user can read the Times and post recipes from Bon Appetit to their Facebook account; imagine if your audience could repost your content with equal ease. Making Flipboard page templates is only as difficult as your first web template. Mastering Flipboard in 2011 will pay off in extra credit from web design aficionados and early adopters alike.

4. Tumblr: The Internet’s Stream Of Consciousness


To designers, images are currency.  In 2011, take some of your focus off of Twitter and put it in Tumblr instead.  This microblogging platform has become the social networking hotspot of the visual design community, and with good reason—most designers would prefer to see an image that inspired their colleague rather than read what she had for lunch. Designate your Tumblr site for either original works or a collection of images, and contribute daily to remain a current presence.

5. Facebook: Still King

Facebook's Secret Message to Me

Facebook’s present and future remain controversial, but it’s tough to argue with success. In 2011 Facebook will continue to reign supreme over other networking sites. Make sure your Facebook account has a group for professional contacts, and update frequently.  Don’t forget to share your work with your larger circle of Facebook friends, though. As Facebook continues to grow, ride it to find new opportunities to showcase your design.

Though the IPO shakeups will continue to dominate headlines in 2011, the practice of social networking is likely to stay on course for another year. Keep an eye to the future by embracing the Flipboard web magazine format, the biggest web design challenge on the horizon.

This is a guest post by Aimee Sway, blogging for, the premiere booklet printing company. Follow her on Twitter @PrintExpressUK and like on Facebook!

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2 Replies

  1. What do you think of They started up in October of 2010. They promise to respect users’ privacy and with the negative publicity Facebook has been getting over privacy issues, I think this one may be viable. They charge a monthly fee, but have a good affiliate program. I have a blog with more information about the features of the site if you’re interested in learning more about it.

  2. Nice collection of social media site, i never knew about this before, i really appreciate this article you have shared with us, i can wait to try those social media you have listed.

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