By: Chris O'Shea
As soon as someone creates something special, there are about 500 million people waiting to find the thing that replaces it. This is the case with Pheed, a new social networking site that tech sites are rushing to proclaim "The new Twitter." Forbes even just went ahead and titled a post about Pheed "Is Pheed The New Twitter?" Of course everyone knows that any headline that ends in a question mark can always be answered with "No" or at the very least, "I don't know." While Pheed probably isn't "the next" anything, it is interesting.
So what is Pheed? It's a start-up social networking founded by famed Internet entrepreneur O.D. Kobo. The site allows users to share items in pretty much every single way: video, texts, photos, and voice messages. Essentially, while sites like Tumblr, Facebook, and Twitter all have some digital formats, none of them have all of that, which gives Pheed a bit of an advantage. The content can also be as big as you want. Feel like uploading a four hour movie? Go for it.
The rising popularity of Pheed is causing it to pop up more on people's' radars. The site and iPhone app launched only three months ago, but it's already a big hit. It's currently the top social app in iTunes (yes, topping Facebook and Twitter), thanks in large part to young celebrities like Miley Cyrus Ashley Tisdale, David Guetta, and Chris Brown, who all set up Pheeds and proclaimed their love for the site.
Having Billy Ray's daughter talk you up is great, but the key to Pheed's staying power might be in its monetization offerings. Users can put their content behind a paywall, so visitors have to crack open their wallets to view what's share. The user can then charge $1.99 to $34.99 per view, or $1.99 to $34.99 per month, while splitting the money with Pheed. That's quite a unique take on social networking. But there's another catch: Users own all their content. While Facebook makes you the product and owns the rights to anything you post, it's the opposite on Pheed. This gives the social media startup an advantage, because people have long been complaining about the lack of control offered by Twitter and more.
Kobo told Tech Cocktail that the time is right for Pheed; that people want more options. "Four or five years ago, I would never have launched Pheed because there wasn’t room for it. You either used Facebook or Twitter, and that was it. When Instagram came out of nowhere and stood center stage, we grew the confidence needed to launch something that could be the next thing."
Two things are needed for Pheed to become "the next thing:" Time and acceptance. Specifically, will people still be buzzing about the site once the initial hype wears off? And more importantly, will people really be cool with paying to see users' content? The latter seems especially unlikely. Pheed (horrible name, by the way) is not the next Twitter. It's just the next thing before the next thing.
[Pic via Flickr - Dario Alvarez]