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New Social Sites to Meet Your Non-Facebook Needs

2012 August 16

Facebook is here to stay, despite some hiccups since the IPO, and will continue to be the standard for things like photo sharing – especially with the recent acquisition of Instagram. But it is not the last word in social. Many new companies have popped up in the past couple years to supplement areas that Facebook has neglected. Here are a few of my favorites:

Connect away from your computer. I’ve never really used Facebook on-the-go, probably because I’m a more passive user than poster. Still, I do want to keep in touch with friends and family in my every day life so I appreciate apps like Path and Pair that are designed specifically for sharing on the go. Better still they are more exclusive, for those thoughts that you just want to share with 1 person and not the whole of the Internet. Path specifically is great for location-based sharing and discovery (as are a number of other ‘local’ apps). Facebook has not really captured local yet, though they are definitely trying.

Discover people you should know. Few people reveal meaningful things about themselves on Facebook, especially now that companies look at applicants’ profiles. So you may be able to reconnect with that friend you knew ten years ago, but can you find a new front-end designer on Facebook? Not without a whole lot of Facebook stalking. Enter Meeteor, who uses Facebook to help you find professional connections AND gives you an intro. It’s even better than LinkedIn, because it requires much less effort on your part.

Shop! I never used Beacon but the general consensus is that it was awful. Facebook Connect lets me see when one of my friends has liked a product, and that’s useful, but it doesn’t help with product discovery. If I know I want a tea kettle, great, I can see which ones people I trust like, but what if I just want to window shop online? Fancy, Svpply, Wantful and a handful of others have created beautifully designed sites that let you do just that. Content is always fresh because it’s curated, either by their own designers or by users, so it’s something that you keep wanting to go back to. Even if you don’t want to buy, the pictures are beautiful and well, sometimes it’s just nice to look at pretty things.

Find inspiration. Speaking of pretty things, Pinterest is my new site for general inspiration. My boards are personal dream boxes of places I’d like to go, art that I love, and things that I find beautiful. It skews heavily female – perhaps very similar to the scrapbooking market – and that shows in the general fashion, wedding and other boards that trend well on Pinterest. If you’re looking for something more “manly” check out Manterest. Stumbleupon is also a site doing well with visual discovery though more for discovering new websites than for objects and ideas.

Kate Endress is the CEO and cofounder of DITTO.com, a new cutting edge ecommerce site selling a curated collection of designer eyewear including prescription sunglasses. Kate is a graduate of Stanford Business School and was previously a private equity investor before becoming an entrepreneur.

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