15 Social Networks to rival Facebook and Twitter
Social networking sites have grown massively in importance over the last five years, and have since diversified into areas such as photography (Flickr), business (LinkedIn) and even internet dating (Match). The ‘general purpose’ networks of Facebook and Twitter are now used by countless people on a daily basis across the world, leaving their once-popular predecessor Myspace drifting in the internet ether, hemorrhaging users despite several revamps.
However, every dog has its day, and eventually another competitor sporting new bells and whistles will come along to challenge the hegemony of the two leading social networks. So who will it be? We’ve taken a look at some of the most promising social media start-ups and put together this list of 15 sites that may give the big boys a run for their money soon.
Foursquare allows users to share their current location with friends. Users get points for checking in at certain venues and can choose to have their movements posted on Twitter and Facebook. Badges can be earned for checking in at venues with a certain type of tag. If used as an application on an iPhone, friend updates can be ‘pinged’, keeping you notified. This app currently works with iPhone, Windows Phone 7, Blackberry, webOS and Android.
Bumped.in is an online community for commuters and people who travel as part of their job. The idea behind this is to sign up, create a profile and then enter your travel plans. This could be details of a daily commute or a longer business trip. The site will then tell you other members taking the same trip. You can then browse profiles of fellow travellers and interact with them, sharing interests and making new friends.
Shwowp is a social site enabling users to gather purchase history in one place. You can input your purchases, follow your friends’ purchasing activity and strike up conversations about various products. Users can also categorise purchases by type, using indicators such as “I deserved it” or “I need it,” which may develop further as the site grows.
A word play on “sites I’m on,” Sitesimon allows you to share the sites you’ve visited with friends in real time. You can increase your influence on the site by discovering good content first. The site offers several services, letting you share text messages, videos or multiple links with one short URL. Your friends can browse your click stream and check out the sites you’ve been on, though you can block sites being viewed with a browser add-on.
Calling itself “The Personal Network“, Path is a social network that limits you to only 50 followers, therefore going against Twitter’s follower model. This concept is based upon the Oxford professor of evolutionary psychology Robin Dunbar’s theory that 150 is the maximum number of social relationships that anyone can handle. Users share pictures, giving three forms of contextual information: places, people and objects. It is a fully enclosed network, meaning all information is only shared with those people you make friends with and Path excludes usual features of a social network, such as comments, likes and photo sharing on other networks.
A simple concept: create a profile and start posting your text message conversations. Followers can then comment on these posts and join in. You can then link out to Facebook, Twitter or use the accompanying iPhone app.
A dating site with a difference, users are asked when signing up, what kind of dates they would be interested in going on (concert, film, wine tasting, etc). The site algorithm then determines the type of dates sent to you by email to see if you’re interested in them. Profiles are sparse and based on personality, quirky questions and date proposals the user would like to go on.
A microblogging site that’s already a popular internet draw, Tumblr boasts 1.5-plus billion page views per month and a wide user base. Users write short articles, post pictures and videos on customisable profiles, which allow you to follow and interact with other users. Many profiles specialise in different subject areas such as music, graphics, politics and languages.
One for the fashionistas, Fashism is a social shopping site and mobile app that lets the user upload photos of themselves in their outfits, so other members can rate them and offer advice. The site has attracted investment from big names such as Hollywood couple Demi Moore and Ashton Kutchner.
Show others things you’ve bought and write about it with Blippy, and link your Facebook or e-commerce accounts such as Ebay, iTunes or Woot to your Blippy profile. Read reviews and comment on them or discuss the merits of various commerce sites. Think of it as ‘Watchdog’ for the online generation (without Nicky Campbell or cowboy plumbers).
Created by Facebook co-founder Chris Hughes, Jumo is a network that lets users find and support causes important to them. With a user experience similar to Facebook Connect, you can easily locate friends and causes amongst the 35,000-plus organisations that have signed up. The site helps you by giving you ‘Issues’ to select in order to figure out what you’re interested in. Jumo will then offer you various organisations involved in these areas with the opportunity to connect with them in a manner similar to – you guessed it – Facebook.
Quora is basically a Q and A site where members use their accumulated knowledge to provide an authoritative answer and resource to another user’s question. Readers can rate answers so that the best answers rise to the top of the list, therefore ensuring quality. Quora is a new, shiny take on an old idea, and the site has been embraced by the Tech community. Only time will tell if it grows to encompass other areas such as the arts, science and humanities.
The Fancy is an invite only site the works on the premise of allowing users to express themselves through things and brands. You clip or tag objects that you like with an “Add to Fancy” bookmarklet as you browse. This collection of photos can be followed by other users, who can save these items if they’re of interest. However, the real focus for many users will be the tagging, such as businesses tagging products with links to purchase information.
Ping is iTunes’ social network for music lovers. As a member, you can follow friends and artists on the site, find out what they are listening to and follow recommendations. You can also view artists or friends’ status feeds to check out their photos and other media.
Currently existing somewhere between rumour and fact, Google’s social proposed social network has been talked about by those in the know for the last six months or so; however nothing concrete has yet appeared on the web. The intention is apparently to take on Facebook, but with over 500 million current users, Google will have quite a fight on their hands.
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