Nearly every article you see here on MakeUseOf that relates to social media features Facebook and Twitter (and occasionally — but ever so rarely — Google+). But is that really all there is? What about the smaller social networks? What about the niche markets? Are they even out there? Is there something beyond the world of Facebook?
Simple answer: yes.
We’ve found a few that you — our most amazing readers — may be interested in. Take a look at them, share what you think, and if you happen to know of a few other similar sites, tell us about them!
Dribbble (yes, that’s with three b’s) is a small social network aimed primarily at designers looking for a proper place to show their work. Dribbble is for designers and by designers, and because of this, there’s an extra level of professionalism when sharing your crafty creations. With Dribbble, you can connect with other like-minded digital artisans and share your inspirations with the rest of the design-oriented world.
Better yet, Dribbble even acts as a job-finder for those of you who are looking for work, so you can essentially consider it to be Pinterest’s and LinkedIn’s love child. Potential clients scour the Dribbble seas in search of a visually-gifted designer like yourself, and meanwhile, you can lurk the job boards yourself for the next big thing.
I can’t look at this social network’s name without saying it really loud and in a grunted voice. HÄRNU.
Sorry. Had to.
Härnu is a social network designed to help people from all over the world find other people from… well… all over the world. It may sound obvious, but this isn’t your run-of-the-mill social network, by any means. Not only is it meant to connect people from all over the world — it’s meant to connect knowledge and culture as well. You won’t see these types of status updates: “OMG so i m so tired of ppl constantly asking me if im going to date todd — everone KNOWS we are just bffs and i lov jon lol.”
Instead, you’ll get this: “Where do people in Brazil like to go on vacation (inside your own country)?”
That was taken from the site itself — pretty cool, right? The site incorporates a global map along with geographically-based status updates to help you connect with (and learn about) people outside of your local community. If you’re finding the Facebook culture less than appealing, Härnu may be just what you’re looking for.
Tagged is something else. I’m not going to say it’s the best social network out there, but I’m not going to say it’s the worst either. Let’s put it this way: remember how MySpace turned into a massive wall of people taking pictures of themselves in rather provocative states? Essentially turning it into a literal cyber-breeding ground? That’s how I would describe Tagged.
Don’t get me wrong, Tagged is a small yet active social network that can indeed connect you to people in your area. Keep in mind, though, that the site does have undertones that reek of hook-ups, online dating, and other romantic endeavors. It doesn’t necessarily market itself that way, but Omegle doesn’t market itself as a sex chat site, either.
If you’re interested in meeting new people, Tagged will definitely help you do that. Then again, some of the people you’ll meet might be a little sketchy.
Are you a fitness nut? Alternatively, are you absolutely the farthest thing from a fitness nut possible? (Don’t worry, we — the staff of authors who make their entire living from working on a computer — completely understand.)
Fitocracy is a website for both sides of the coin. Anyone who’s interested in fitness is welcome, whether they’re newbies or old hands. By merging elements of social networking with gamification, the developers of this site have created a safe environment where anyone looking to better themselves can connect. The main function of the site is to help you “level up” by earning points based on your fitness activities. Meanwhile, you can look to the support of members from your group while taking on your personal challenges, or you can “duel” other users in fitness competitions that will benefit you both
All in all, Fitocracy is a niche site that does things right. By pairing a fun environment with a serious mission, I’d imagine anyone who desires to participate will find some form of success.
We’ve written about Path before, and in the three years since it hasn’t come much closer to the mainstream. In short, Path is a mobile oriented social network for friends. No, your real friends. The people you actually talk to in real life.
If you had to pick five people that you personally know to put up with you in the event that the apocalypse ever occurs, who would they be? Those are the people Path should connect you to. In short, it’s designed for a more localized experience.
The app connects you to others by allowing you to put together a journal that incorporates all forms of media — photos, written word and videos. Basically, you show the ones you are closest to what’s currently happening on your path of life. Path is available for iPhone, iPad, Android, and the Kindle Fire.
Are There More?
If all these smaller social networks are a bit much, and you’re still trying to decide between Facebook and Google+, don’t forget to check out our final showdown to finally find out which one is really better.
What other social networks can you recommend for us here at MakeUseOf? Are you part of any offbeat social networks we should know about? We’re always looking for news ways to connect, and we love hearing how you are staying in tune with others. Give us your insight in the comments section below.