Facebook, Twitter, and other social media heavyweights may be winning the race to most number of users, but sometimes, having “everyone” in one social network can do more harm than good. Newsfeeds and streams are cluttered, shameless self-promotion is rampant, and you can’t seem to escape the mindless babble of spammers and trolls.
A handful of smaller, more niche social networks are addressing these issues. Although just a fraction of the size of the giants, they offer users a more de-cluttered social experience by focusing on people’s interests and relationships.
Below are some of our favorite “small” social networks that do an excellent job in ensuring that users won’t have a hard time accessing the people and content that matter.
1. Pair – Social networking doesn’t get any smaller than this. Pair is a mobile app that’s known for being the social network for just two people: You and your significant other. Ideal for long distance relationships, Pair offers several tools that make it easy for you and your loved one to keep in touch. Chat with each other and share text, images, and video on a timeline that can only be seen by the two of you. There’s also a sketch feature that lets couples draw up masterpieces together, as well as Thumbkiss—“a feature that lets you see where your partner is touching their screen so you can touch the same spot and make both phones vibrate simultaneously.”
2. Small Business Bonfire – If you’re an entrepreneur looking to grow your network online, then Small Business Bonfire is a good place to start. As you can probably guess from its name, this website is a social network for small business owners. Like other social media sites, Small Business Bonfire members get their own profile, news feed, as well as the ability to add friends. The site also offers groups and forums, allowing users to ask questions and participate in business-related discussions.
3. Fitocracy – Known as the Foursquare of people trying to stay fit, Fitocracy is a site that uses gamification to motivate users to work out. If you’re a fitness buff (or trying to be one), be sure to check this one out. Fitorcracy provides tools that help members track their workouts and fitness activities. Users accumulate points for every action that they complete, and they can level up overtime. Need a pep talk? Looking for some health and fitness advice? This is where Fitocracy’s social aspect kicks in. The site allows its users to find and make friends within the site. People can join and create groups based on their interests and socialize away.
4. Path – Wouldn’t it great to be part of a social network where only your inner circle gets to see what you’re up to and you don’t have to worry about privacy settings? Well, Path might be your answer. Similar to Pair, this social network only exists on mobile platforms. Users are able to post photos, videos, and disclose their location, but are encouraged to only do the sharing with their closest friends and family. Path promotes a more private and personal social media experience and it allows members to have a maximum of 150 connections.
Francesca StaAna is from AdMedia, an online ad network that connects advertisers to consumers.