The Rise of Private Social Networks
by Taylor Wilson | @_twils Facebook might have over 1,000,000,000 users, but how can one social media network please over 1 billion people at the same time? Major social media networks like Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and LinkedIn tend to dominate the scene but many users want to filter out the “noise” and follow what appeals to them. The focus of social media is clearly moving towards a more specific, private, and mobile world. That is where niche social networks come into play. By focusing on specific communities and niches, these social media networks are changing the world of social networking.
Path is a mobile-based social network that launched in November of 2010. The network is primarily used for sharing photos and messaging but limits the sharing of material with 150 close friends and family. By fostering high-quality connections in a private space, Path is able to encourage greater sharing of personal information. A simple interface and posts called “moments” allow Path to create an intimate feel and encourage users to nurture real connections.
Nextdoor is a private social networking service for neighborhoods in the United States. Prospective users must verify their home address before registering an account. Once users are registered on the site, Nextdoor allows users to see which nearby users are registered. Neighbors can connect by sharing goods and information, giving local recommendations, and updating each other on neighborhood safety issues. Launched in 2011, the network has over 10,000 neighborhoods now that use Nextdoor.
While these niche networks might not be a substitute for Facebook, Twitter, Google+ or other large social media networks, they are certainly impressive.