It really comes as no surprise that social discovery site Tagged.com has longer engagement per visit than Facebook. For their part, Facebook gets more visits at 36 per user per month compared to 18 per month for Tagged, but people spend less time per visit networking than discovering (Tagged at 12.1 minutes and Facebook at 10.9).
There’s a reason for this. People can skim through their friends’ and family members’ updates and drop in their own very quickly and get on with their lives. On Tagged, their looking for new people. It can last as long as the user wants it to last; with over 100 million users, there’s no chance of running out of new people to explore.
That’s the key difference. When Tagged predicted Facebook’s victory in social networking in 2007, they knew they had to pivot. Instead of competing directly, they began shifting towards a complimentary existence. If Facebook was going to win the battle for friends and family, Tagged was going to corner the market on finding new friends and meeting future family members (a la the romantic aspect of the site).
It’s a symbiotic relationship in the making. Normally, finding new people to add on Facebook requires some sort of real-life engagement first. It’s possible to go through friends’ list of friends to find new people, but adding them often yields the question, “Do I know you?”
Social discovery on Tagged encourages reaching out to strangers based on interests, geography, or randomness. Savvy users of both sites can use Tagged to explore new possibilities, even siphoning them over to become friends on Facebook once a virtual relationship is established.
“If I look out at the next five or 10 years, I really see social discovery as big as social networking — in some sense I think you can think of social discovery as the engine for social networking,” said Tagged co-founder and CEO Greg Tseng.
The promise of social media was to connect people, but in many ways Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ have done what they can to prevent expansion of our own networks without engaging in real life first. Social discovery should prove to be the answer as it emerges over the next year.