Until recently, it was commonly accepted that "social" was done. The market had been fully saturated, the thinking went, dominated by the holy trinity of Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Turns out, rumors of social's demise have been greatly exaggerated. Not only are we seeing the rise of innovative new social networks—from the earshare of Clubhouse to the seamless interactivity of cloud gaming—but having a social component has become a powerful acquisition and retention tool for every consumer product, across education, shopping, fitness, food, entertainment, and more. In this series, we reveal what new social looks like, the forces that are driving it, and how to build it.

Social+ companies take a single category—from gaming to education to ecommerce—and build an integral social experience into the product. These are the hallmarks, the challenges, and the open opportunities behind layering utility and community.

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When assessing a social app’s potential, what does “good” look like, anyway? The most important metrics to track—and benchmarks to aspire to—according to the data.

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Meet Me in the Metaverse

Through the concurrent rise of user-generated content and AI, we’re inching closer to the Metaverse. But the most exciting part of that vision is its potential to reinvent our social interactions.

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The Holy Grail of Social + Fintech

Shifting attitudes around what we share about money have given way to an ambitious new wave of financial products. Here's why the holy grail of social + finance is both so challenging and, potentially, so rewarding.

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We’re on the cusp of a wave of audio innovation that will rival the explosion of video apps. That precedent—fueled by an ambitious crop of social + audio startups—provides a glimpse into how audio will evolve beyond podcasts.

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The Social Serendipity of Cloud Gaming

Jade Raymond, Google Stadia’s VP of Games and Entertainment, explains how cloud-native games are poised to unlock hyper-personalized storytelling and unprecedented social experiences.

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From VIP subscriptions to next-level ecommerce, here’s how social companies are skirting the traditional ad model.

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Taking cues from gaming, entertainment, and abroad, video-first products are transforming the future of education, shopping, and solopreneurship.

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The Founder's Dilemma: To Compete or Unbundle?

The Big 3 social networks are massive and horizontal: everyone goes to the same place. So should entrepreneurs attempt to steal away a chunk of that market or rip it apart and go vertical?

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In AI-powered virtual worlds, socializing will shift from the purposeful 'what' to the people-centric 'who.' We' will care only about who we're spending time with—and trust the world to fill in the rest. Jonathan Lai, "Meet Me in the Metaverse"
That emotion that audio can stoke—the swell of a concert, the roar of a stadium crowd—is inherently social. Podcasting is just scratching the surface. Andrew Chen, "The Next Phase of Audio? Listen Closely"
Nearly every category of company will eventually make the fateful transition from single-player to multiplayer, from company-driven to community-driven, from individual to social. D'Arcy Coolican, "Community Takes All: The Power of Social+"
In the future—and, increasingly, the present—video is no longer going to be something that we passively watch; it’s going to be something that we do. Connie Chan, "Live, Social, and Shoppable: The Future of Video"

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