Social Media

Could These 3 Social Networks Succeed Facebook?

Philip Bates 07-04-2014

Entropy. It’s why all the kings’ horses and all the kings’ men couldn’t put Humpty Dumpty back together again. It gives us time and makes your hair gray. Everything ends. And that includes Facebook.


Despite what MakeUseOf readers think, it’s been predicted that Facebook will shed 80% of its users by 2017 – but which social network will succeed it? Here are some likely candidates.


Tumblr is already immensely popular; maybe not Facebook-popular, but it certainly caters for countless fandoms. If you’re a fan of Marvel, Sherlock, Disney, or even Grumpy Cat, Tumblr is the place to be, especially if you’re a cosplayer 8 Awesome Tumblr Blogs Every Cosplayer Should Follow Instead of going to Comic Con, what if you could just sit back and look at some pictures of the incredibly creative cosplay costumes that people have made? That's where Tumblr comes in. Read More . Founded in 2007 by David Karp, now owned by Yahoo!, the site is mainly used to couple images or GIFs with snippets of text.

David Karp

Could it really take over from Facebook?

Yes. Tumblr is home to more than 174.2 million blogs. Unlike Facebook, you’re almost guaranteed to be cheered up. Just search for ‘Karl Pilkington‘ and a smile will spread over your face. And if you think happiness isn’t everything – as Karl says, “happiness is like a cake; have too much of it, you get sick of it” – Tumblr is also great for spreading information quickly and concisely. Forget long, rambling press releases: get a great picture, add a paragraph or two and soon, it’ll be all over the place.

Reblogging someone’s post is easy too, so it’s a great way to build up a community and rapport – and that’s social networking in a nutshell.


Furthermore, there’s a growing number of celebrities on Tumblr including Elf and New Girl star; Zooey Deschanel; Glee’s Dianna Agron; and Lady Gaga, epitome of the term, ‘Great Divide.’

The Bad and the Ugly

Tumblr can be a very weird place when you initially delve in. You might need to research what ‘Shipping’ is, for instance. Don’t be freaked out to see David Tennant’s Tenth Doctor cropped into odd situations. Once you get used to the humour of Tumblr users, it’s a much better place to spend those free hours.

Doctor Who Tumblr

Though a large amount of its users are youngsters, it’s not always a ‘safe’ place for under 18s. There’s a lot of pornographic content and a copious helping of swearing.


Tumblr cracked down on blogs that advocate self-harm and suicide, but “emphasizes the importance of free expression,” which means that NSFW (Not Safe For Work) content won’t be banned completely. However, users can enable Safe Mode to alleviate the risk that kids will stumble on something that might raise eyebrows and quite a few questions.

If you’re in the UK, the Government-imposed opt-in of adult material on the Internet will probably censor much of Tumblr soon anyway.

If you’re just getting started, don’t forget to check out our beginner’s guide to Tumblr! The Unofficial, Beginner's Guide to Tumblr Tumblr's the number one social networking site for people under 25. Clearly it's important, but it's a bit mystifying. It's less a blog than it is an anti-blog. Read More

Path [No Longer Available]

It feels quite a bit like Facebook, but it’s fresher and more streamlined. Dave Morin, co-founder and CEO, is a former Facebook executive, so he knows what he’s doing.


Made with iPhones, iPads and Android devices in mind, Path was launched in 2010 by Morin and Napster developer, Shawn Fanning, specialising in photo and message sharing – like most social networks. Even back then, we praised it Path - The Personal Photo Sharing App We've All Been Waiting For [iPhone] Read More . It’s more private than Facebook, limiting the amount of friends you can have to 150; it’s an unusual stance, but works well.

Could it really take over from Facebook?

Path 3

Facebook’s popularity seems to be waning partly because younger people don’t want their weekend antics viewed by the growing number of family members on there. Path encourages users to add friends and family, so it’ll go the same way as Facebook.

But Path is the best bits of Facebook with added kookiness. You can ‘express yourself’ with stickers by ‘some of your favorite artists’ – and no, that doesn’t mean Van Gogh, Turner or even Vettriano. They instead indulge in pop culture; sure enough, there’s an Adventure Time sticker, as well as Star Trek, Ghostbusters, and – a pleasing inclusion – Peanuts. They’ll cost you £1.49 ($2.50), though (unless you upgrade to premium).


It’s specifically designed for a youthful generation, and with a surprising amount of funding, it’s definitely got a future.

The Bad and the Ugly

Little things might annoy users, specifically its lexicon. Everything is a ‘moment’ and it encourages you to ‘remember life’. It wallows in nostalgia and sentimentality, so if you’re not one to don those rose-tinted glasses, Path might not be the right path for you.

Path 4

The real concern, however, is what information Path collates about its users. Two years ago, it was revealed that Path stored its members’ phone contacts, though Morin has apologized and the policy changed.

The final problem is one experienced by all new social networks: you can join easily, but good luck finding anyone you know on there. This is likely to change soon, mainly thanks to the fact that Path doesn’t suffer from the same envy Facebook does. It’s not scared of interacting with other social networks, so you can easily invite your mates to the party.

Zugme [Broken URL Removed]

This young upstart isn’t even available for iPhones yet. With a focus on community, Zugme sounds a lot like other social network sites, but it’s embraced audio like no other.

Could it really take over from Facebook?

You can add audio blogs and audio comments, so it’s designed for people on the go. These days, that’s just about everyone. It all depends on how a mass audience embraces audio; are podcasts still that popular? Or are videos the face of the future? You can add videos, of course, but that’s hardly different from other networks.

Zugme Blog

Its claims of unconventionality may draw people in, as well as its offer of free ad space:

We want our users to reach as big of an audience as possible and promote themselves in really unique and exciting ways. Giving users ad space in exchange for traffic is a win-win situation,” says Zugme representative Sean Kelly. “Our ad space program really gives Zugme users the opportunity to promote whatever they’re passionate about and create an invaluable amount of exposure.”

But best of all, it’s perfect for musicians, allowing them to tag and search specific music types and cities. It’s Facebook for the American Idol/X Factor generation.

The Bad and the Ugly

Zugme needs a lot of refinement; launched only last year, it’s still finding its identity. It tries to combine business with social media — something that might work for smaller companies, particularly freelancers, but at the moment, it sits uneasily between LinkedIn and Facebook. You can’t offer everything for free forever, so we’ve yet to see its full business plan.

The network’s biggest crime is its ugly Android interface; plain and clumpy, a sheer white face dotted with simple boxes containing videos and brief bits of text. But then, it does exactly what it says on the tin. It all depends on what you want from your social network.


There are, naturally, many social networks out there, vying to compete with Facebook and draw in its dwindling users. Tumblr is ready now and Path imminently. Zugme might need a little while to establish itself, but there’s plenty of time for that.

Unless, of course, there’s a sudden interest in MySpace again…

Who does your vote go for? Is there a social network out there that has a chance over Facebook?

Related topics: Facebook, Tumblr.

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  1. Nick
    July 5, 2014 at 9:01 pm

    How about the only Social social network, were you stay OWNER of your own data, and even can manage control anything there, if needed running your own server..

  2. Yodi C
    April 25, 2014 at 5:56 pm


    -- does not require you to provide your birth certificate to use the service
    -- is not interested in who your friends are
    -- is user-friendly and NOT a hotbed for flame warfare

    I'm putting my money on Tumblr. Ultimately Facebookers will miss the transparency and privacy that Zucker-bug has brainwashed them all into believing they do not need and when they do, Tumblr will have plenty of room for them.

  3. Nick C
    April 17, 2014 at 3:02 am

    My opinion is that Facebook will wind up like Myspace and drive users out. I think the top contenders to overtake and topple Facebook are Google+, twitter, Instagram, Tumblr and Path. Path may have a future as a Facebook contender if it can get it's act together and mature. I also think Google+ has the potential to take down Facebook, but Google+ needs a few years to grow up before it can take down Facebook. Though I think Google+ has the potential to be the alternative to Facebook and makes a great back up for Facebook as well. Though I predict that by 2020, Facebook may wind up in the same situation that Myspace was once in.

  4. Hatsneophyte
    April 9, 2014 at 11:22 am

    I feel that G+ is too "corporate-y". Probably wouldn't recommend it as a social networking site made for the mediocre/common facebook user.

  5. Sean
    April 9, 2014 at 10:58 am has a chance to go to top after facebook. It's amazing.

  6. Paul Foraker
    April 9, 2014 at 6:51 am

    I've been enjoying, so hopefully it'll take off.

    • Philip Bates
      April 9, 2014 at 9:45 am

      Haven't heard of that one before, but it does look good - thanks for the link. :)

  7. J Davis
    April 9, 2014 at 1:15 am

    Zugme has a shot at truly connecting people around the globe based on their interest. Love the Topic @ City concept. If I were going for x 100 ROI, I'd go with Zugme.

  8. Paul-Wesley Bowen
    April 8, 2014 at 9:54 pm

    One other note, "Social Media" are really just places for people to hide (ostensibly) and say what they think without the pressure of real life presence of someone they are criticizing. That's not "social", but rather catering to the increase of individualism that separates people. There are many examples of people who "friended" or "unfriended" someone, or making scathing remarks because of a "barrier of invisibility" that does not denote "social", but rather the tendency to "hide" from real life.

  9. Paul-Wesley Bowen
    April 8, 2014 at 9:49 pm

    Well, the Bad and the Ugly ... definitely not a place to go if you want a little uplifting. It's "example" is a poorly mannered man, with a penchant for "slightly" nasty insinuendos about things he does or doesn't like. Not a person I even want on my terminal. If he is a prime example, and you, MakeUseOf are pushing him, you just might be "going" the way also. What is putting most of us off Facebook is the use of the content by people with rampant political ideals trying their best to put down their "unfavorite", and is mostly used to batter people who are in public eye that everyone with a chip on their shoulder (self included) get a reason to become highly critical and not in a good way. Bad and Ugly doesn't seem much different. However, do not rule FaceBook out yet. There are still far more people with it than the others, and given time, with the encroachment of those who decide a better battering place to spew their vitriol would be Bad and Ugly, it will go down in flames also.

    • Philip Bates
      April 9, 2014 at 9:44 am

      I think that's unfair on Tumblr. There is negativity about but that's true of any social network - no, any site at all, in fact. Tumblr celebrates fandoms especially and that means there's negativity, of course, but also a great deal of positivity. If you want to be uplifted, simply search for the type of humour you like, whether that's Monty Python, Armstrong and Miller or Friends. Similarly, there are a lot of nice 'human' feeds that make you feel that, actually, society isn't that bad after all.

      And I don't think Karl is poorly mannered at all. He has controversial (and often stupid) opinions, certainly, but so do most people. But he isn't rude to the people he meets. They fascinate him but I've never actually seen him tell anyone their ideals are wrong. I'm not advocating him instead of anyone else particularly; he was just an example who makes me laugh. I could equally have said any stand-up comedian, but that would've probably provoked a lot of comments about far superior stand-ups.

      And I do agree with you - we can't rule Facebook off just yet; nonetheless, it's time will come and another site will take over. And the successor's time will also come eventually.

  10. oo7Realtor
    April 8, 2014 at 8:00 pm

    Thanks for keeping updated on what the masses are up to. You mentioned Tumblr's "shipping" deserves some research. I can't find anything about it.

    • Laura O
      April 9, 2014 at 4:29 am


      Shipping: so for example you like Life on Mars (UK). And you like the show so you follow all the blogs that talk about it. There's relationships in that show- ie: Sam and Annie. They're written into the plot and such.

      But what if....well.. it was Chris and Annie? What would happen then?

      Shipping is ...making up relationships in a game, TV show, movie OR real life.
      That's how I put it.

  11. Lola JLB
    April 8, 2014 at 5:53 pm

    Completely, totally different purposes and audiences. None of these 3 social networks are going to be good substitutes. When writing articles like this, please consider what type of audience is it that are drawn to Facebook. Hint: Its not the same audience that are drawn to Tumblr or G+.

    • Philip Bates
      April 8, 2014 at 6:26 pm

      But there are plenty of people who are on both Tumblr and Facebook, for instance. Why are people on Facebook? To stay in touch with friends. That's real-life friends and people they know through fandom, or at least people who share interests. Some also go to Facebook to publicise themselves and their work.

      I think the point is, the reason another social network would succeed Facebook would be because users want something different; Tumblr, Path and Zugme all offer something different, but not completely unrecognisable from Facebook, ie. their purpose is still to help people stay in touch, celebrate their fandoms and publicise themselves.

  12. Katharine W
    April 8, 2014 at 5:43 pm

    If all the users of Facebook got a tumblr, all the current users would leave. It would be the death of tumblr. On tumblr there's even a rule: Don't talk about tumblr on Facebook.

  13. Bud
    April 8, 2014 at 5:12 pm

    Only feature about FB is there many online games..........the rest is a vast garbage-land dump !!!

  14. Wayne M
    April 8, 2014 at 4:35 pm

    being late to computers I am not even up to snuff with the old ( like me ) networks.

  15. Nataly
    April 8, 2014 at 2:49 pm

    how about Diaspora?

    • alfie
      April 10, 2014 at 7:15 am

      Yes...Diaspora, proper social networking tool

  16. Music.broke
    April 8, 2014 at 2:46 pm


  17. stephen rice
    April 8, 2014 at 9:42 am

    Facebook will always be tops I think, Not that I love it it sure has faults but I connect with so many people daily that I never would so yea Facebook is my fav but I love twitter too suppose that's kinda different G+ is jus annoying

  18. Ilya
    April 8, 2014 at 8:25 am

    "Little things might annoy users, specifically its lexicon. Everything is a ‘moment’ and it encourages you to ‘remember life’. It wallows in nostalgia and sentimentality, so if you’re not one to don those rose-tinted glasses, Path might not be the right path for you."

    This is a nice piece of text right there. I haven't tried the app yet but I know exactly what it's talking about. I can imagine feeling it like a trendy coffee shop. Bleh.

    • Philip Bates
      April 8, 2014 at 6:33 pm

      Thanks very much. :) I appreciate that. And yep - that's pretty much what Path is like!

  19. Pampam L
    April 8, 2014 at 3:29 am

    Path has the potential but I don't think the other two has. I mean, Facebook has been around for at least 5 years in my country and it was expected to be just a hype or to be overthworn (just like friendster) but no. It just goes to show that the people behind Facebook know how to entice its customers.

  20. Ana
    April 7, 2014 at 11:55 pm

    Zugme has a really interesting concept. I agree when it comes to its interface, they should make it prettier :)

  21. miApples - Smart Tech
    April 7, 2014 at 8:21 pm

    Tumblr all the way!

  22. Savage
    April 7, 2014 at 8:00 pm

    no to all 3
    but PATH ( limiting the amount of friends you can have to 150 ) ya im not down with that at all im not ok with someone telling me how many friends i can or can not have
    You may ask why do you need more than that ?? Well i for one am very active in the live music communities and make connections with well over 150 people putting restrictions on people like that is a FAIL

    • Jerica
      April 8, 2014 at 5:13 pm

      I personally like the idea of Path, since Facebook pressures you to be popular and to 'friend' everyone you know. My husband is friends with 300 people and I think that's too much. You can't possibly know 300 people that well.

    • Philip Bates
      April 8, 2014 at 6:32 pm

      Yeah, I know what you mean; perhaps Path would be better if businesses could connect with more people.

      Nonetheless, I agree with Jerica - there's a limit to how many people you actually class as friends. I also think Path's limit is positive as it cuts down on competition - who has the most friends. That might not be an issue with anyone over the age of 21, but in school, college and sometimes even uni, there can be stupid rivalry about things like that.

    • Julia T
      April 17, 2014 at 12:04 pm

      Savage, you do know that Facebook limits the number of friends you can have too, don't you? Though it is a rather hefty 5,000 friends, so you may not have reached your limit yet :-)

  23. Denitsa D
    April 7, 2014 at 7:52 pm

    Tumblr has been around for such a long time but I don't think the majority of the people who use facebook are going to migrate there, those two sites just serve a completely different purpose. As for the other two sites, I haven't even heard of them, so yeah, it's pretty self explanatory.

    • Leah
      April 8, 2014 at 10:10 pm

      Tumblr, though I have not visited so I could be completely wrong, sounds more like a bigger version of Twitter, you know, Twitter with more than 140 characters. I don't see Tumblr providing the same thing that Facebook does.

    • Nahla D
      April 11, 2014 at 10:47 am

      Leah, sorry but yeah you got Tumblr wrong. It's not like a bigger version of Twitter. It's totally different! Tumblr is a microblogging service that can use and post text, pics, audio, vids, whereas in Twitter you can can only post limited text and some photos. I personally use both but I frequent Tumblr more. You are right though about Tumblr not providing the same thing that Facebook does and that's because both are different platforms thus different uses, just like Denitsa says.

  24. JP
    April 7, 2014 at 7:45 pm

    Facebook has become will be their downfall

    • Julia T
      April 17, 2014 at 12:10 pm

      Couldn't agree more, especially for those of us with pages. Facebook only shows your posts (on their newsfeed) to a percentage of your fans, and that percentage is going down and down (I believe it's at around 16% at the moment). If you want your post to be shown to more people, you have to pay to boost the post.

      Some have speculated that organic reach for pages on FB will soon be at 0, which is ok for large businesses that can afford to pay to have their posts shown, but is bad news for small businesses, non-profits and general interest pages.

      I have much better engagement on my Google+ page (G+ has no ads on it at all - not even Google Ads, which I love).

    • JP
      April 17, 2014 at 12:15 pm

      Yeah G+ or even twitter are way better alternatives...

  25. JOn
    April 7, 2014 at 6:59 pm

    what about G+?

    • Travis Gutierrez
      April 8, 2014 at 6:49 pm

      Agreed - Google+ is the most likely contender to taking down Facebook.

    • Vc N
      April 9, 2014 at 8:49 pm

      Google+ just isn't getting the... respect? Is the the right word? Anyway, now that it's the commenting system for YouTube people may start to use it and take it seriously but it's still going to take some time.

    • Nick C
      April 17, 2014 at 3:07 am

      Give Google+ a few years to mature and then I can see Google+ taking on Facebook and taking Facebook down. Though for now, it needs a couple of years to grow and mature before becoming a serious contender to overtake Facebook.