For better or for worse, social media is changing everything about the way we interact with one another and even how we spend our time alone. For that reason, it’s smart to keep up with the goings-on of the social media world.
We recently came out with the Silicon Valley 100 — our annual list of the coolest people, products, and companies in Silicon Valley.
We pulled out the hottest social media companies that made the list. Here are 12 social media companies to watch.
Founder: Kavan Seggie
Last May, Snapchat made its first acquisition in AddLive, a real-time communications startup that allows the picture-messaging app to power its video-calling feature. The deal cost Snapchat $US30 million.
AddLive's technology offers several useful tools to Snapchat, including screen-sharing, multiparty conferencing, and support for browser-based video chat via WebRTC.
Cofounder and CEO: Mark Zuckerberg
Facebook has been quietly busy this year with new features. For example, it acquired a video startup called QuickFire, which could help streamline the increased video consumption on Facebook.
At Facebook's annual F8 developers' conference, David Marcus, head of messaging products, made a big announcement regarding Facebook Messenger: expansion into e-commerce and mobile payments inside the app. Marcus has helped the company roll out several other features as well, including a Skype-like video-calling service and the ability to send locations to friends.
Founder and CEO: Amanda Bradford
The League is like a curated Tinder for elites, and it raised $US2.1 million in seed funding earlier this year to play matchmaker to the most successful and ambitious singles. The League launched in San Francisco at the beginning of 2015 and just opened up to the New York market as well, where a targeted group of 2,500 users were allowed to sign up.
The goal, founder Bradford says, is to make more power couples and help people date 'intelligently.' The app now has its sights set on London.
Cofounders: Ben Rubin, Uri Haramati, and Itai Danino
It's never been easier to share live video with your friends and followers. Just open Meerkat, click 'stream,' and share whatever you're doing with friends. The popular live-streaming app, which launched in March, raised $US18.2 million in funding and has nearly 2 million users.
However, Meerkat is facing fierce competition from Twitter's Periscope, another live-streaming app. Despite Perisciope's advanced features, like the ability to replay videos, Meerkat cofounder Ben Rubin is confident there's space for both to thrive. When he found out Twitter was launching its competition, he said, 'it was Saturday -- all the team went back to the office to get ready to dive in.'
Nextdoor connects users with those in their neighbourhoods, creating forums for discussing everything from local crime to the best places to eat. While other platforms, like Foursquare and Google, have had mixed luck with the neighbourhood-centric concept, founder Nirav Tolia believes Nextdoor's focus on small communities will make it an effective way to connect people. In the long term, the app also hopes to find a way to monetise user recommendations.
Cofounder: David Morin
Path launched in 2010 and was meant to be an alternative social network. Unlike Facebook, it limited the amount of friends you had, and it started on mobile first. Though it never took off in the US outside Silicon Valley, it became popular in Asia.
Daum Kakao, the makers of the popular Kakao Talk messaging app, acquired Dave Morin's social-networking app Path at the end of May. Path raised a total of $US77 million as of January 2014. Much of the money Path raised came from co-founder Morin's own pocket; the former Facebook executive made a sizable amount when the company went public.
CEO and Cofounder: Joseph Bernstein; Cofounder: Kayvon Beykpour
In March, Twitter launched Periscope, a live-streaming app that it acquired in February before Periscope even launched. Periscope could give Twitter a valuable means to expand into live entertainment and other video and streaming events.
Periscope lets users stream footage from their devices to followers. Viewers can comment and send 'hearts' to the streamer. The footage can be replayed later, which sets it apart from rival app Meerkat, where the footage is gone once the stream is over.
Cofounders: Ben Silbermann and Evan Sharp
Pinterest, an online scrap-booking site that lets users organise photo pins onto different boards, is now worth $US11 billion after raising a $US367 million round of funding in March, followed by another $US186 million in May. Investors include Andreessen Horowitz, Fidelity Investments, and Bessemer Venture Partners.
The site continues to grow and adapt its business model, most recently releasing new options for advertisers. Instead of just choosing to pay for views or clicks on promoted pins, advertisers can choose to pay with a cost-per-engagement model or cost-per-action model.
Interim CEO: Jack Dorsey
Ex-Googler Evan Williams and his partners Biz Stone and Jack Dorsey pivoted Odeo, a failed startup, to become Twttr, the text-messaging service that allowed users to send status updates to all their friends in blasts.
Today, Twitter, the platform where users float 140-character updates, is unavoidably popular. It's become a major tool for celebrities, news outlets, and even 'citizen journalists,' who can share news immediately, as it happens, and to millions of people.
On July 1, previous CEO Dick Costolo stepped down and was replaced by co-founder Jack Dorsey, who will act as interim CEO while the company finds a permanent replacement. Sources tell us that Twitter's revenue boss, Adam Bain, is first in line to become the company's next CEO.
Cofounder and CEO: Or Arbel
Yo is the almost stupidly simple communication tool that briefly took the tech world by storm in 2014. The one-word correspondence app started out as a side project for Arbel, but it went viral and last year was valued at about $US10 million.
Arbel is planning on bringing Yo back with Yo 2.0, which will include your location, a photo, or just the good old original 'yo.'
CEO: Mark Pincus
Zynga emerged in 2007 and quickly became one of the largest gaming companies in the world with 'FarmVille' and 'Words With Friends.' Stock fell tremendously after the company failed to adapt to changes in the gaming landscape.
Founder Mark Pincus stepped down as CEO less than two years ago, but resumed his CEO role in April. With Pincus back at the helm, things are looking better for the company. Zynga beat earnings estimates for Q1.