Your Final New Year’s Resolution Is To Learn One Of These 3 Social Media Platforms In 2016.

Don’t get left behind. Don’t be this guy.

I know, I know, you finalized your new year’s resolutions two weeks ago, but let me pack one more challenge into your (hopefully busy) 2016 schedule. It’s a fun one, I promise.

Right now, millions of people are jotting down goals for their health, their work, and their personal development, but one aspect is inevitably left behind: their social lives.

No wait, that’s not right, their social media lives.

Don’t give me that look, I know how many times you check your phone every day.

Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, whatever your vice, the reality is that social media activity is as much a part of our lives these days as romantic relationships, offline hobbies, our jobs, and more. Seem sad? It really isn’t, it’s just the world we live in. In fact, social media mastery is important enough that Barack Obama has no less than 20 aides helping to manage his social accounts.

This year, you can either scoff at it or embrace it, and here’s why I think you should pick the latter:

Be it for work, a personal project, or otherwise, you have something to be gained from learning to natively use and engage with relevant social platforms.

Running a business? Your customers are on social. In a band? Potential listeners share a bajillion songs on social media every single day.

Any way you slice it, becoming an effective social media communicator has tangible merits for you.

“But I already social media, bro — you’re saying I need to do more of it?”

Social is fast and evolves regularly, the right way to approach it is to follow in the genre’s footsteps and be ready and willing to learn new things yourself. Being ahead of the curve on a social platform, riding a wave just before it crests and explodes into the mainstream, is a very, very valuable position to find yourself in almost completely regardless of your individual goals.

This year, I challenge you to take the reigns and dive into a social platform you’ve never used before. Learn everything. Become a certified badass. Get 1,000 followers. Better yet, get 100 really engaged followers.

“Fine, I’ll bite: What hot new platform should I be on?”

I thought you’d never ask! Here are 3 apps that are probably going to have an interesting 2016:

Snapchat

Snap or screenshot this bad boy to add me to your Snapchat friends.

Snapchat’s not new, but it is just now hitting critical mass. This is a ship that is finally loaded up and ready to pull away from the harbor, and now is the time to leap on board.

Snapchat has finally been validated by businesses as they flock to it in droves, telling their stories and helping fans feel personally connected a few seconds at a time. Last week, the white house itself made an account.

Social media gurus have taken note, and ‘Godfather of Social Media’ Gary Vaynerchuk has massively ramped up his consistency and effort at building a following on the platform.

Snapchat is the safest bet of this list to spend your time on, not only because it’s visibly growing, but because its engagement rate is ridiculously high. On twitter, for example, only a few of your 1,000 followers will probably see any given tweet. With Snapchat, you’ll likely have several hundred people of those people checking out your story on any given day; the content is just so rapidly consumable. Plus, Snapchat introduced sponsored snaps for brands last year, meaning they’ve recognized their own move into the mainstream (and then helped spur it along).

Periscope

Ah yes, live streaming. In the gaming community, live streaming on Twitch and even Youtube have been big for sometime, but it wasn’t until 2015 that apps started popping up attempting to bring video streaming to the mainstream, mobile audience.

Since Periscope began making a splash last year, several developments have come about in the live streaming market:

  1. Persicope’s initial primary competitor, Meerkat, has fallen behind in the race, leaving more users defaulting to Periscope for bigger audience potential.
  2. Facebook has rolled out its own ‘Mentions’ feature which includes the ability to live stream video directly from a fan page (note: Mentions is currently only available for ‘verified’ fan accounts like those of celebrities, and it’s unclear if any aspect of Mentions, including live streaming, will be made available to the general public any time soon).
  3. Newcomer Blab has created a subset of live streaming, as it allows multiple users to host a stream at once, giving way to roundtables and multi-expert mobile webinars.

It’s unclear whether or not Periscope will for sure be the player that takes the market, especially with Facebook involved, but mobile live streaming just might follow the way of Snapchat and come into its own with the general public in a year or two — and it certainly doesn’t hurt to be an early adopter while the playing field is less crowded.

Peach

Last is wildcard Peach, which launched just a few days ago under Vine co-founder Dom Hofmann. On peach, you create a feed made up of, well, just about anything.

By some accounts, it’s already dead. By others, it’s just getting started. I’m not qualified to weigh in on where Peach will end up, but I wouldn’t be surprised if we see a sleeper hit, a resurging interest in Peach some months or even a year down the road, once both its users and founders can narrow in on an exact focus for its quirky format.

So far, I’ve been using it annoy my coworkers with banana drawings.

That said, its looping video (like Instagram’s Boomerang) feature and “magic words”, which bring up additional functionality when posting, are quite a bit of fun.

Master a new social platform, and your everything will thank you.

In today’s world, committing yourself to improving your social media life could be as important as a resolution to be more efficient at work or to add an extra day of working out each week.

I’ve personally found social media platforms to be a uniquely efficient investment of time because, once you master one, you can apply it to just about anything.

For example, lessons learned from running a blog and social channels for my job are going directly into the promotion playbook for a personal project I’ll be launching this year.

For example, let’s say Peach started taking off and as every other would-be influencer floundered around with the controls, you were already a pro, releasing the most engaging drawings, video loops, and ‘shouts’ around and raking in Peach ‘friends’ as the floodgates opened. That could give you some serious social currency.

As with just about anything, the time to learn is now, not later; even if by some flaw of the universe all three of these apps got dropped like a greased up hammer in the proverbial hand of society tomorrow morning, you’d be better off for learning a few lessons while you had the chance.

Now, go draw a better banana.