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For many of us, our social media extends as far as Facebook and Twitter, and for the more adventurous among us, there is Pinterest and LinkedIn. These sites are usually where our online lives exist, perpetually updating statuses, pinning pictures and mindlessly tweeting random inanity.

Now, this got me thinking, there must be more social avenues to explore, and there must be some other sites, where we can lay our lives bare. So the hunt began. It was interesting….very interesting…

 

A quick search of the web, proved my thoughts correct, there are indeed, a number of (in fact many) social sites, some I’d heard mentioned in conversation, and some which I had never heard of.

The first site of interest I came across was BuzzNet. With 10 million registered users, you’d expect it to be more popular than it actually is. So what does it do, and how does it work?

Unlike traditional social networks, users interact by sharing ideas, music, and interests, so the site really allows you to connect with truly like-minded people. BuzzNet isn’t a social media baby either, as it was set up in 2005, and was once described by Hitwise as ‘the fastest growing Social network’. Although it may not have lived up to its expectations, we think it’s worth a look.

I was also interested to see if everybody around the world were as happy to use Facebook as we were. I knew this wasn’t the case in German and Spain (where Tuenti presents some strong competition against Facebook), so I decided to look at which Social networks other countries like to use.

I later stumbled across a site from the Netherlands called HYVES (not something to brag about having), which seemed very popular, with more than 10 million unique users, this was no small time set up.

Created in 2004, HYVES is similar to Facebook, in that users create profiles, which are used as the main means of communication with one another. Membership is free, although there is an option to purchase a premium membership, which allows users to access more of the website, and use more emotions and smileys in their communications.

On the topic of overseas social media, another favourite is Douban, a Chinese site, allowing both registered and unregistered users to access information about; books films, and local activities. Registered users are able to add content to the site. Points to note are the site was ranked 150th in the World by Alexa in 2012, and is the 20th most visited site in China, with a membership of around 53 million, Douban is big business in China.

 

I also decided I wanted to find an interesting, quirky, off the beaten track sort of Social networking site. So the hunt began. It took me a while, but I eventually found one I thought fitted the bill perfectly, this came in the form of Ravelry, and it looks like a really cool, well designed site, with a membership pushing 2 million.

Now here’s the quirky bit – Ravelry is a site dedicated solely to knitting and crochet. How awesome is that? Members can share ideas, patterns, techniques and tools online. I’m not just saying it, but this place looks like a lovely network to be entwined in (geddit?). 

So there you have it, the weird and the wonderful. I hope you have as much fun checking out some of these sites, as I did. Be a little adventurous, break free from the confines of Facebook, and you may be surprised what you find.

 

Especially if you like knitting.

Chris Higgins

I am an Offsite Optimisation Specialist here at Lakestar McCann.

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