Social media takes up a massive chunk of the time we spend online, especially on our smartphones. But sometimes, the most popular social networks out there just don’t quite offer what we’re looking for.
That’s where these alternative social media networks and apps come in.
They’re places where you can meet more like-minded people and post about topics you don’t want to post on Facebook (such as fitness, or habit building). They’re places you can continue to post updates about certain areas of your life without your current friends and family always being notified about them.
1. PumpUp (For Health and Fitness)
PumpUp is a health and fitness app used by millions, which hails to be “the world’s most positive fitness community.” There are other social media apps for fitness enthusiasts, but this is the gold standard. It’s a fantastic place to post updates about your latest workouts, receive props from community members, and see the inspiring progress of other users too.
If you use Instagram, you’ll be familiar with the look and feel of PumpUp: a steady stream of photo-based updates, and hashtags to find people and topics you’re interested in (i.e. #cycling or #rockclimbing). Within the app, there’s also a good range of workouts to join, and tracking tools to keep an eye on your progress. You’ll have everything you need to be on the way to a healthy lifestyle.
2. Trover (For Travel)
If you love to travel, it’s all too easy to lose track of time scrolling through the various feeds on Trover. And what’s more: this isn’t just a travel-guide app. It’s an app overflowing with people who are visiting incredible places, sharing what they find along the way.
If you’re looking for travel inspiration, there’s no shortage of users posting images of, and tips for, the places they’ve been. It’s here that you’ll quickly come away with a terrifyingly long list of places you just have to visit.
And if you’re looking for things to do wherever you’re headed next, just search a location. You’ll soon find a ton of alternative attractions and sights that other users have found at that locale. Often, these are things you’d be hard-pressed to find in any guidebook, making Trover a seriously valuable app for any intrepid traveler.
3. Discord (For Gamers)
Discord is an app aiming “to bring people together around games.” This is a free, cross-platform app offering impressive text and voice chat features to 14 million gamers each day.
The layout is easy to understand, and functions similarly to Slack, with chats organized by channels. You can join and customize these however you like. Text chats act as basic chat rooms, where you can debate with other users until your heart’s content. And when it comes to gaming, setting up a server only takes a few clicks.
This isn’t a micro-blogging site, like Twitter and Facebook (has become), but it’s a fantastic place to find a new community around your favorite games.
4. Letterboxd (For Movie Buffs)
Letterboxd is a “social network for sharing your taste in film” that’s become incredibly popular the past few years.
With an account, you can keep a film diary to rate and review movies as you work your way through your movies-to-watch list. Keep track of what your friends, connections, and favorite writers are watching. Create your own to-watch list. Join discussions about your favorite movies.
If you feel like you can’t completely geek-out about the movies you’re watching on Facebook, or even with your friends in real life, then Letterboxd is the place to be!
5. Huggle (For Real-Life Friends)
Huggle is a relatively new friendship-making app (also used for dating) that helps you connect with people not based on what they look like, but rather on your location and common interests.
It may sound a little weird at first, but if you’re new to a city and struggling to make real-life friends, Huggle could be your answer.
The app works by automatically checking you into places you visit (e.g. coffee shops). If any other user has also checked into one or more of those places, you can see a limited version of their profile. You then decide whether you want to start a conversation with them, knowing with more confidence whether they share your interests.
Download: Huggle for iOS
6. Coach.me (For Building Habits)
At its core, Coach.me is a slick habit tracking app that uses various features to keep you on target. You have everything from charts that visualize how you’re getting on, to encouragements to not break the chain if you’re on a roll.
You can, of course, use all of these features without interacting with any other users at all. But that would be ignoring an important part of the app.
When you’re searching the app for habits you want to build, you’ll often find that hundreds, if not thousands, of other users are also working on the same habit. If you join one of these habits, you’ll see the social side of this app come to the fore. This is where people ask questions, post updates, give encouragement, and offer advice, to others who are working on the same goal.
This social part of the app is a fantastic thing to have if you’re unable to rely on family or friends for constant encouragement.
Are Niche Social Networks the Future?
The growth of niche social networks like these suggests that more and more people are becoming fatigued with having just a few all-encompassing social networks to rely on.
Users want places where they can find and join smaller communities of like-minded people. Where they can talk about things that might be outside of the interests of their current circle.
These six niche social networks are just some of those that are gaining in popularity. There are plenty more, which are aiming at creatives, stock-market enthusiasts, and even beer-lovers. You should also look into Facebook alternatives that don’t steal your data.