I might have said this once or twice before…but it really does seem like there is a new social media site gaining momentum each week. Some of you might be thinking “oh no, not another social media site! I barely have enough time to log on to Facebook”. It may seem like over-saturation at times but not all new social media sites succeed. Their success depends on several factors that include: knowing their audience, ease of use, community development, or linking up to other larger social networking sites. Here’s a look at a few social media sites that failed to capture a large following and several sites that are making big enough noise to keep an eye on this year.

The Ones that Could Have Been

1. Yahoo! Buzz: No niche… no need.
Similar to Digg, Yahoo! Buzz allowed its users to generate “buzz” around stories they read online. Unfortunately for Yahoo!, low user participation rates and low website adoption numbers led to Buzz’ demise.

2. Friendster: Poor strategy.
As one of the first social networking sites to make an impact, Friendster once had more than 115 million users. Its downfall was combination of programming flaws, an unstable infrastructure and poor business decisions. Friendster has since changed course and rebranded itself as a gaming site.

3.Ping: An Apple failure!
A failure is a rarity, but not unheard of, in Apple’s portfolio. Although it’s still active Ping, an iTunes based social networking site, has failed to generate much action. Its censorship, hard to use navigation and the biggie – its focus on commerce not building social relationship has really put users off.

The Ones to Watch

1. Path: Social networking on the go.
Path is social networking app, which allows users to keep a journal on the go – a “path” of their life. Users can post photos, travel updates, share interests, music and keep in touch with friends and family.

2. Quora: Has all the answers. 
Quora connects its users to everything they want to know. Users ask questions, responses and share information. Users can create their own personalized homepages surround topics, questions, people and content they are interested in.

3. Chime.in: What do you have to say? 
Chime.in is a social network based on interests. Users share opinions and questions around their interests while discovering new information and making new connections and building communities around their favorite topics. Top interests include Street Style, Food, Social Media and more.

4. Stipple: Content with power. 
Stipple gives image owners power over their content. It powers commerce and content inside of images on the web and mobile while fostering connections and communities. It also permanently connects images to their owners who can share information, media and commerce through their images.

Whether these “ones to watch” will make a lot of noise this year remains to be seen. One thing’s for sure – when a social media site becomes successful – success happens very quickly. We know the story very well – take a look at how fast Pinterest and BranchOut grew. The real determinant of a social network’s success and longevity lies in its ability to keep users interested while staying innovative – remember there seems to be a new social networking site every week, armed and ready to become the next big thing.

What social networks do you think will have the most impact this year and why?