As diverse as these platforms are, they are all taking social networking into deeper, more focused directions. But in the shadow of these all-purpose social networks, some truly exciting transformations and specializations are underway. Verdicts and ratings are obviously my opinion and I’d love to hear if and why you disagree

Sharing using sound – For sheer “wow” factor, Chirp may take the prize in 2013. Say you want to instantly share a photo or link with a roomful of people.  There are plenty of options out there, but they all have drawbacks.  Networks like Instagram or Facebook are members-only.  Email requires typing in multiple addresses.  Bluetooth has to be paired device by device.  Chirp, however, is different.  Your phone emits a high-pitched, two-second-long, robotic squeak. Other phones within audio range pick up the sound and instantly download the photo or message.  Chirps can be shared in a boardroom or a crowded bar, broadcast over loudspeakers to reach huge audiences or even embedded in YouTube videos or TV programs.

Verdict: when we tried it out the app ws tempremental and couldn’t always download the message we sent but it definitely has the potential to be a lot of fun
Rating: 3 out of 5 stars


Bringing order to photosharing – Smartphones have made it ridiculously easy to take photos and video, but gorgeous shots from last week can end up lost deep inside the camera roll. Flayvr may be the most intuitive and aesthetically pleasing of a wave of new social apps bringing law and order to your collection. Photos and videos are automatically organized into eye-catching albums based on date, complete with location and even titles sucked in from your iPhone calendar.  With a tap, you can share the album as a splashy HTML5 webpage via social networks or email. It’s also a great alternative for privately sharing big collections of photos.

Verdict: a much better method of arranging images than Apple’s iphone ‘Photos’. Helpful to have photos in galleries of date and subject and easy to share to social networks
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars


Personal crowdsourcing – Say you have no idea what shirt to match with your new jeans.  Snap a photo, upload to Thumb and crowdsource the decision.  Simple questions typically generate hundreds of thumbs up or thumbs down, plus comments, from the network’s very active user base, sometimes within minutes.  Appealing to the twin social impulses of vanity and voyeurism, Thumb generates serious engagement among users (reported to be around four hours a month, second only to Facebook among established networks) and seems poised for growth in 2013.

Verdict: I was expecting to really like Thumb when i first heard about it, but having only used it briefly it has now been removed from my phone. I thought the concept was good but the questions were a bit trivial and whilst I had expected to help people, I felt I was only entertaining their boredom
Rating: 2 out of 5


Buy with one Tweet – Remember how revolutionary it felt when Amazon introduced 1-Click payments for online shopping? Chirpify takes that concept into the social media era.  Sellers offer stuff for sale on Twitter or Instagram (T-shirts, concert tickets, new albums, whatever).  You reply with the word “buy” and it’s yours.  No credit card.  No “proceed to checkout” or “add to cart.”  The entire transaction is conducted through your Twitter account.  Apart from buying and selling, Chirpify can also be used for fundraising, giveaways and – most fascinating of all – peer-to-peer payments.  Need to pay a buddy back for this morning’s coffee?  Just tweet “pay” and the amount to his Twitter handle.  Chirpify is free to use but takes a five-percent cut anytime you get paid.

Verdict: I’ve yet to use chirpify myself but I’ve seen successful examples and it looks a fantastic service. I feel this is really one for the future and don’t think it’ll be long until social-commerce is common practice.
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars