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10 Social Networks For Special Interests

Vertical, or specialized, social networks connect you with people and and business opportunities around specific industries or affinities -- whether you're a doctor, or a cat lover.
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It could be argued that the most popular social networks are becoming victims of their own success. Facebook and Twitter, for example, have become synonymous with social networking, and they have done so by providing big, broad platforms on which everyone and his or her brother participates. There's a lot of value in such volume, but there is also a lot of virtual noise. For users looking to streamline their social networking experience, vertical or specialized social networks may be the way to go.

Vertical social networks are not new, but we have been seeing more and more pop up. We have also seen increased user interest in vertical social networks, as platforms such as Facebook and Twitter become social jacks of all trades.

Many vertical social networks are industry-based. Doximity and PatientsLikeMe, for example, focus on the healthcare industry. Honest Buildings is designed for the real estate and building trade, while Learnist and the like are geared toward education, and nets such as GovLoop speak to people in the public sector. IdeaPlane is a bit broader in scope -- designed for organizations in highly regulated industries -- but it appeals especially to users and organizations in the finance industry.

IT Central Station is an example of a social network geared toward a specific profession -- IT workers -- and provides a forum for open and focused discussion on the particular issues and challenges that IT professionals face.

There are also social networks geared for particular age groups. Grom Social, for example, is designed for the tween crowd. There are lots of social networks geared toward young people, but Grom Social is unique in that it was designed by a young person (11-year-old "Zach") for young people.

Other specialized social networks play to people's sensitivities. For example, Social Number is one of several "anonymized" social networks. These platforms enable users to collaborate without giving up any of their personal information. Indeed, with Social Number, users are identified by a number instead of a user name.

Finally, there are the really specialized social networks -- the ones that are focused on a particular thing. One recent entrant into this category is Catmoji, a social network designed by cat lovers for cat lovers. No longer do you have to search YouTube for those cute cat videos, or get distracted from other work when friends on Facebook send you the latest cat-based meme. Now users can cut right to the cat chase and get more cat photos and videos than they probably ever imagined exist.

The lesson here is that there is a social network for every taste and demographic these days, and social businesses should take notice of the potential opportunities these very focused audiences provide.

Follow Deb Donston-Miller on Twitter at @debdonston.

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pravinkmr
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pravinkmr,
User Rank: Apprentice
6/3/2013 | 8:09:24 AM
re: 10 Social Networks For Special Interests
pravinkmr
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pravinkmr,
User Rank: Apprentice
6/3/2013 | 8:09:13 AM
re: 10 Social Networks For Special Interests
pravinkmr
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pravinkmr,
User Rank: Apprentice
6/3/2013 | 8:08:46 AM
re: 10 Social Networks For Special Interests
oh ! my God you are true

http://dwarka-expressway-proje...
pravinkmr
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pravinkmr,
User Rank: Apprentice
6/3/2013 | 8:07:56 AM
re: 10 Social Networks For Special Interests
Today social book marking play a vital role in every social connection. With the help of social book marking who are unknown person they make our friends and make a good friends.

http://dwarka-expressway-proje...
Erytanek T
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Erytanek T,
User Rank: Apprentice
1/19/2013 | 5:15:28 AM
re: 10 Social Networks For Special Interests
Thanks. another vertical site you might want to put on your list is researchgate.com
Deb Donston-Miller
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Deb Donston-Miller,
User Rank: Apprentice
1/18/2013 | 10:22:44 PM
re: 10 Social Networks For Special Interests
Thank you so much for your thoughtful post. I will definitely keep the global factor in mind as I continue to cover vertical social networks.

Deb Donston-Miller
Contributing Editor, The BrainYard
Erytanek T
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Erytanek T,
User Rank: Apprentice
1/17/2013 | 4:29:47 AM
re: 10 Social Networks For Special Interests
Yes, HIPAA is a major concern. However, HIPAA laws can be managed if appropriate security measures are put in place from ground up - something which many networks such as FB are still struggling with. Doximity is good and HIPAA friendly too but more US oriented as opposed to global. For any social network to command investment dollars and succeed, it must have a global vision. Talking with the founder of Zhleet.com,I was made to understand their vision is beyond the US social market.HIPAA is also a concerned there as well. I believe the next couple of years will be interesting.However, my bet is on the vertical players. They might not grow as big but they will most likely have a strong potential of staying in business for a while - with good management though.
Deb Donston-Miller
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Deb Donston-Miller,
User Rank: Apprentice
1/16/2013 | 6:05:19 PM
re: 10 Social Networks For Special Interests
I see your point. Networks like Doximity, which is geared for doctors, can take users' special considerations in mind. (For example, HIPAA concerns.) It will be interesting to see how it all plays out, especially as Facebook and Twitter beef up their native services.

Deb Donston-Miller
Contributing Editor, The BrainYard
Erytanek T
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Erytanek T,
User Rank: Apprentice
1/15/2013 | 3:30:35 PM
re: 10 Social Networks For Special Interests
Even with the creation of groups within a general network, it will not have the necessary feature details available in a niche network. More and more people will find niche networks more appealing as features within that niche are tailored to the niche and the needs of its target audience. Groups have been around for a while within general networks but people are not satisfied of having their main interest just be a microcosm in a macrocosm with limited offerings. They want their interest to be a macrocosm in itself. The reason we shall be seeing more people embracing these dedicated vertical networks such as allnurses.com for example and a host of many others. However, the great question is how many of them will grow global and gain global traction? Do there have what it takes to penetrate communities beyond the US? That's where i see an issue, which none the less can be handled depending on the type of vertical network.
Deb Donston-Miller
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Deb Donston-Miller,
User Rank: Apprentice
1/15/2013 | 12:44:06 AM
re: 10 Social Networks For Special Interests
The thing I wonder is whether there will be multiple, disparate social networks, or whether generalist social networks will figure out a more effective way for users to form groups that meet their respective and specific needs.

Deb Donston-Miller
Contributing Editor, The BrainYard
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