Do We Really Need More Social Networks?

Over the last couple of months I’ve received more pitches than usual from owners of fledgling social networking websites. They want me to promote them on one site I write for or another. And so far I’ve been utterly unimpressed.

In every single case, the owner or publicist (or whomever was contacting me on their behalf) referred to the site as an alternative for Facebook. And look. I’m no fan of Facebook. So I’m all for alternatives. But it just wasn’t true for any of them. None offered anything that really made them stand out. And certainly none had the biggest asset of the major players — members.

When I received these pitches of eager social network owners, all I could think was…

So What?

There were no cool tools. There was no solid niche focus. There were no good reasons to use these sites unless you simply wanted to be somewhere other than Facebook. But good luck convincing most of your network to join you.

What Would a New Social Network Need to Woo You?

What will it take for a new social network to grow? – Credit:

I don’t think for a minute that every new social network is set for failure. I guess you could say I’m just waiting on a gem — one that offers something new or infinitely better than existing options. It doesn’t even have to be something big. It just has to be worth my (and my network’s) time.

Here are a few things that might impress me:

  • Truly user-friendly privacy policies — making all sharing opt-in rather than opt-out
  • A niche social network format grown from an existing community (like a popular blog community or forum changing its format or a great niche site going social for the first time)
  • A spam-proof social network (don’t ask me how they’d do it; it’s improbable at best; but I’d still love to see it)

Maybe the first and last of those things already exist, and I just haven’t come across them yet. If so, I hope you’ll let me know. And I’m sure niche sites I love will continue to become more social — so at least there’s hope on that front. But overall, I have yet to see a new social network that I want to give my limited time to.

What about you? Do you really need another social network? What would sway you from your current social networking site of choice or convince you to spend even more time by adding another? Are you looking for a Facebook killer or are you more interested in niche options? Share your thoughts in the comments.

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