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A private social network? No, it’s not an oxymoron.

When it comes to social networking, Twitter and Facebook are two of the most popular options out there. But if you have privacy concerns, or simply want to create a social network that is accessible only to your work colleagues, your friends or your family, there are some solid alternatives out there for creating your own private social network.

All of the options listed below, at the very least, allow you to create a social network, share updates, and interact with other users. Some of them are far more robust, coming with media sharing options, task management, one-on-one sharing, project collaboration, easy setup, and more. Read on to find out which private social network is best suited for your personal needs.

For Your Business or Organization

YammerYammer offers one of the easiest ways to create a private social network accessibly only to people in your company or organization. The way Yammer limits the social network is by allowing users to sign up only if they have a company email address. Limiting membership by the domain name is an incredibly easy way to ensure that the social network is constantly up to date, and that all employees have access.

We took a brief look at Yammer’s features a few years ago when the service first launched, and it has certainly come a long way since then. Yammer comes with free and paid options. The free version of the service allows you to create a company social network, whereas if you’re willing to pay a few dollars per user you can get additional features such sharing content via SkyDrive Pro and browser-based access to Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and OneNote files.

Yammer

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So what basic features does Yammer offer users? The social network features an activity stream with updates, as well as a private messaging system (although it might be best to stick to email for private messages so that all correspondence is accessible in one place). You can also share files, images and videos with colleagues.

Departments can create groups within the social network, so that messages pertaining to a specific project or line of work are seen only by relevant employees.

Yammer can also be used to create an organizational chart, a member directory, and more, so you can centralize a lot of data about your company in one place.

If you don’t want to limit access to Yammer to the browser, you can also take advantage of desktop (Windows and Mac) and mobile (iOS, Android and Windows Mobile) apps

Yammer is easy to use and doesn’t require advanced skills to set up, but its users are forced to rely on a third party service that could be bought out, or shut down. Security can also be a concern, since while data transfer is encrypted using SSL, data stored on Yammer’s servers is not encrypted. You can read more about Yammer’s security features here. If you are not comfortable with this you can alternatively use Yammer’s software to create your own social network hosted inside the company’s firewall.

Yammer is one of the most popular private social network options available, with 90,000 customer companies, 1 million users, and is used by 80% of the Fortune 500 companies.

Bitrix24Bitrix24 is another option for creating a private social network which we have looked at extensively. As Joel told you in his review of Bitrix24 Create A Private Company Social Network With Bitrix24 [HTC One Giveaway] Create A Private Company Social Network With Bitrix24 [HTC One Giveaway] As technology continues to advance at such a rapid pace, the methods of business management and communication advance alongside it. The traditional office environment doesn't work well when most, or all, employees are at home.... Read More , the service offers users an activity stream with updates, video calls, Google Drive integration and invoicing. Jackson’s review of Bitrix24 Bitrix24 Review and iPhone 5 Giveaway Bitrix24 Review and iPhone 5 Giveaway Today, we'll look at Bitrix24, a cloud service that will allow you to create a social intranet for your company within minutes. Bitrix24 provides the tools to interact with your fellow colleagues, assign and manage... Read More  highlights the file sharing, calendar, and task management features.

Bitrix24

By incorporating task management features, Bitrix24 is great not only as your company’s social network, but as a means of keeping employees organized, and centralizing project management in one place.

Like Yammer, apps are available for download — with desktop apps available for Mac and Windows users, and mobile apps available for iOS and Android users.

The free version of Bitrix24 limits the number of users to 12, and will therefore be useful only for very small companies. For unlimited users, you can bump up one level, but it will cost your company $99 a month.

If you’re on a budget, Yammer is probably better suited for your needs, whereas if this is something you’re willing to pay a little extra for, you’ll get far more features with Bitrix24, features that could potentially boost productivity in your company.

Another service worthy of an honourable mention is Chatter.com, which you can find out more about in Bakari’s review Chatter.com: The Private Facebook For Companies & Organizations Chatter.com: The Private Facebook For Companies & Organizations As quick as emails can be for communicating information, I still long for something more efficient with less clutter, especially when it comes to long threads of email correspondence. In looking for something different, I... Read More .

For Your Friends and Family

WordPress: If you want to create a social network accessibly only to your friends and family, one way to go about this is by using the blogging platform WordPress. As we mentioned in our roundup of 8 unusual and surprising uses for WordPress 8 Unusual and Surprising Uses for WordPress 8 Unusual and Surprising Uses for WordPress From social networks to intranets, from directories to RSS aggregators – WordPress has you covered. Between all of the free and paid themes and plugins, you can make your WordPress site pretty much anything you... Read More , with the use of a simple theme (like the P2 theme for example, which we reviewed here The Most Awesome WordPress Theme You Probably Don't Know About: P2 The Most Awesome WordPress Theme You Probably Don't Know About: P2 Even the most seasoned WordPress enthusiast can't have seen all of the free themes going around, so there's every likelihood the P2 theme passed you by too. But, the P2 WordPress theme is not like... Read More ) or plugin, you can transform the blogging platform into a social network. This will, however, require you to host your own WordPress site — it won’t work with WordPress.com.

P2

This is a rather rudimentary option, in comparison to others, but it does provide you with complete control of your data since it’s self-hosted. If all you’re looking for is an easy way to post private updates with images, and interact with other users on the social network, this will do the trick.

Everyme: Everyme, which we took a brief look at in the past Everyme: Making The Social Network Personal Again Everyme: Making The Social Network Personal Again Read More , is a great option for friends looking for a private social network without the hassle of creating it themselves. Everyme prides itself on its privacy features, but that said, you can share your Everyme updates with users who don’t have the app by emailing or text messaging your updates to them. They don’t have to sign up to view them.

everyme1

You can use the service in your browser, or via its iOS and Android apps, and it is used primarily to share text updates, images, and links.

Google+If you don’t want to go through the hassle of trying to get a lot of people on yet another social network, you can always use Google+ in much the same way Everyme is used. A group of friends, colleagues, or family members can create identical circles on Google+ as a means of sharing content with one another privately, without anyone else viewing the updates.

With Google+, this means you can easily share text updates, images, videos, links, and events, as well as chat with other users directly from the Google+ page. It also means that all this correspondence is stored on Google’s servers.

For Your Significant Other

Avocado: If you want to create a social network just for two, Avocado offers iOS and Android users a way of sharing personal updates only with their significant other. You can share photos, updates, and even manage your to-do list together within the app, as well as chat.

avocado1

We took a brief look at the features Avocado has to offer Avocado: Share Everything With Your Significant Other [iPhone] Avocado: Share Everything With Your Significant Other [iPhone] Read More , and the to-do list is definitely a feature that is unique to the app. Otherwise, it is easier to simply use Google+ in much the same way, as you can share updates privately to just one person using Google+.

Do you have your own private social network? What service do you use? If you don’t, do you think it’s worth creating a new social network just for your friends or colleagues? Let us know in the comments.

Photo Credit: Grant Hutchinson

  1. Jim Mountain
    September 28, 2015 at 10:42 pm

    I used Mightybell to create my network. It has the best full feature set with a great newsfeed feature.

    https://mightybell.com

    It also has public, private and even secret settings.

  2. Deb Lawrence
    August 5, 2015 at 7:12 am

    Great list! I'm surprised that none of the Joomla or WordPress plugins where mentioned. Here some good options:

    http://www.jomsocial.com/
    http://www.peepso.com/
    http://halo.social/

    These plugins allow you to keep your social network inside your site instead of sending them off elsewhere.

  3. Remy Delaruppel
    May 29, 2015 at 4:48 am

    Personally i’m using Minsh. They provide you with a cool private social app customized with your brand. Also, I found their customer service excellent. They are with you through all the steps of community building and management ! http://www.minsh.com/

  4. Sri
    January 6, 2015 at 6:56 am

    Status.net is a good option for a self-hosted, private or public microblog (similar to twitter). See my site 24752.com for a demo.

  5. ben
    March 10, 2014 at 11:39 am

    Still the best software are Free!

    https://github.com/insoshi/insoshi

  6. Dan.G.
    December 24, 2013 at 9:04 am

    Another upvote for Bitrix24 - the best one on the list

  7. Mark O
    November 19, 2013 at 8:23 pm

    How about Buddypress? I've heard a lot of good things about that.

  8. SteveO
    November 8, 2013 at 1:48 pm

    I've heard about Yammer before, but Bitrix24 is a lot better

  9. OT
    October 31, 2013 at 5:24 am

    Bitrix24 is supercool, especially for a free solution

  10. Antonio
    October 22, 2013 at 10:49 pm

    Facebook Secret Groups can also be used. An interesting feature is that you don't have to be Facebook friends of the people you invite. You just have to know the e-mail used to sign in to Facebook.

  11. Jordan
    October 22, 2013 at 10:32 pm

    This is really cool. There is another app for couples called Couple. I know it exists on iOs but i'm not sure of the android platform. It is worth checking out!

  12. Scroogled
    October 22, 2013 at 6:29 pm

    What about private social networks you can host yourself?

    • Kevin
      October 23, 2013 at 12:12 am

      Why? You can talk to yourself just fine now.

    • Illegal3alien
      October 23, 2013 at 2:54 am

      Diaspora. You need a VPS to get it running though. When I tried it out it was quite resource heavy, but it might be better now

    • Dmitry
      October 23, 2013 at 6:51 am

      You can host Bitrix24 yourself, if you want to. It comes both as cloud or self-hosted.

    • Nancy
      November 17, 2013 at 12:19 am

      Yammer actually offers that feature as well.

    • seTweaks.com
      February 24, 2014 at 7:37 am

      For self hosting social network you can try SocialEngine : http://bit.ly/10fpQwC

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