The social media industry is constantly changing with new players entering the scene and Internet fads coming and going every day. A few people, however, are really making a difference in social media. Whether they are pioneering new sorts of podcast, developing new business models, or appealing to a previously untapped demographic, these people are making their mark on the future of the Internet today.
Gary Vaynerchuk, the mind behind the Wine Library TV podcast, is a trailblazer in the wine tasting industry by being the first person to really bring wine tasting to the Internet in a big way. His podcast, which was filmed 5 times a week for over 5 years and reviewed 3-4 wines per episode, was estimated to command a viewing audience over 90,000 strong. Wine Library TV was then replaced by The Daily Grape podcast, which had a slightly shorter format, only reviewing two wines per episode, but retained the daily frequency until August 23, 2011. He has also written a book, Crush It! Why Now is the Time to Cash In On Your Passion, which remains one of the bestselling books in the Web marketing genre.
Andrew Mason is the founder and CEO of the Chicago-based deal site Groupon, a revolutionary new sort of discounting format. Groupon offers substantial discounts to thousands of business all over the U.S. as long as enough users buy into the deal. Once the reserve is hit, the deal becomes live and purchasers may redeem their Groupon for the service offered. If the reserve is not hit by the time the deal expires, those who did buy in to the deal are simply refunded their money, hassle-free. This allows businesses to offer deep discounts that will attract new customers with the added security of knowing they can expect a minimum amount of return on the deal.
Ben Silbermann, Paul Sciarra, and Evan Sharp co-founded the social media site Pinterest, which launched its beta site in March 2010. Since then, the site has rapidly gained traction and is now the third largest social network in the world, just behind Facebook and Twitter. The site features graphic-based collections of links that users can browse or post to their own wall for others to peruse, much like a bulletin board with notes and photos pinned to it in virtual space. Content can also be organized and categorized for easier browsing like an address book for the Internet.
Social media is a rapidly growing industry and, while social network giants like Facebook and Twitter seem to be securely placed at the head of the pack for now, it is innovators like these that can shake up the status quo and get the industry motivated in different directions. With new sites and new avenues being explored every day, who knows what the social media of the future will look like?