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Niche Social Networks in a Facebook Era

The other night while watching an old episode of the Colbert Report, Stephen’s guest at the end of the show was Facebook Co-founder, Chris Hughes.  Chris was promoting his new social networking site, Jumo which helps users find and follow the stories of organizations, such as charities and NGO’s that are making the world a better place.

At one point during the interview Stephen asked him, how his social network is different from Facebook.  Chris’s answer was brief because Stephen didn’t give him much time to answer, but he said Facebook is for connecting you with your friends, and Jumo is specifically for following the stories of organizations you care about.  I would have liked to hear in more detail about how he is differentiating himself from Facebook, but it’s interesting to see that even the guy who helped create Facebook, which now has well over 500 million users, thinks there is space for other niche social networking sites such as his own.

The giant social networks, Facebook and Twitter appear as if they are here to stay, because they have made themselves so indispensable to its users.  I’ve also always thought though that in a time where everyone is now capable of publishing their thoughts, ideas and opinions on the web that there is also space for niche social networks for people to follow any particular interests and topics they are passionate about.  I think social networking sites targeted at particular interests will slowly take readership away from magazines.  As opposed to having just a handful of writers broadcast their message to a large audience, niche social networks will begin to spring up and anyone will be able to publish their own content and connect with others passionate about the same interests on sites created specifically for them.

Twitter and Facebook are fantastic at what they do. Connecting you with your friends, but look forward to the next generation of niche social networking sites, centered around every type of interest imaginable.

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