12 Most Notable Niche Social Networks

12 Most Notable Niche Social Networks

When I discuss networking I like to remind people about a simple fact; there is nothing wrong with niche specific networks. I love the big guys, but there is a certain intimacy from an online network of 500. Bigger isn’t always better. We need to be smart about the tribes we join.

I think a lot about niches and their cultures. Is anyone else wondering where Pinterest came from? Hard to believe there was a time when they only had a few supporters. I heard whispers from friends on Twitter about this great new thing. I didn’t know I was about to be involved in the visual bookmarking revolution.

It reminds me of a few of my favorite minor characters from Television and Movies. The following 12 characters began their fictional life in the background. They were quickly promoted to feature players. Each one reminds me of a particular niche network I have discovered over the years. Here are 12 notable social networks you should know about.

1. The cliff clavin

“Cheers” is the bar where everyone knew your name. The mailman Cliff was never supposed to be one of its patrons. John Ratzenberger invented the trivia master after being rejected for the role of Norm Peterson. The character was given a trial and became part of the ensemble cast. If you enjoy a few brews at the end of the day then join social network Untappd. Check out these stats from National IPA Day 2011.

2. The johnathon

Joss Whedon has an eye for talent. He cast Danny Strong as a background character in season one of “Buffy: The Vampire Slayer”. The actor went on to have a speaking part, a fantasy episode, and a season six stint as the villain. Similarly Path,which began as an alternative to Facebook, has become a major player. They recently lifted their 50 friend limit to 150. It is thriving with over a million users and a new business plan.

3. The garek

Garek arrived on “Star Trek: Deep Space Nine” in the first season. We didn’t get to see his full colors until the third when his past as a Cardassian spy was revealed. He would continue to play a major part in all plot lines of the Dominion war. Hunch is just as shrewd. It is a network that gets smarter as it learns about its users. It is no wonder EBAY acquired this social network last year for 80 million. It is in the process of integrating the “taste graph” into its user suggestions.

4. The opus

The funny looking pet penguin Opus inspired many a cartoonist to take up the pen. After a fortuitous meeting with a Hare Krishina,the character was catapulted to main protagonist status of Berkeley Breathed’s “Bloom County”. He would remain so for two more spin-off strips. Pinterest in little over a year went from visual bookmarking tool to one of the most highly regarded of the lot. New statistics reveal that Pinterest drives more online traffic than Google+, Reddit, or Youtube.

5. The klinger

Maxwell Klinger became more than the guy in the dress. Over the years this background character become a important member of the main cast. His talent for making deals saved the “MASH” unit on more than one occasion. If this appeals to you then you will enjoy investing your time in Favo.rs. This community helps each other by fulfilling user requests.

6. The ursula

Before landing a role on NBC’s “Friends” Lisa Kudrow was cast as minor character Ursula on “Mad About You”. Eventually Urusula was written into “Friends” as Phoebe’s twin sister. If you are lamenting Pinterests mainstream status, you may be interested in visual bookmarking network FFFFound. FFFFound has a discovery engine that will find images similar to the ones you “like”.

7. The puddy

Puddy was introduced into the “Seinfeld” universe as the only honest mechanic in New York. He became a major fixture of the last few seasons as Elaine Benes on-again off-again beau. One social network that keeps us coming back again is Stumble Upon. With a fresh look and expanded capabilities this tool has surpassed Facebook as one of the top sharing sites.

8. The magnitude

One of the most enduring traits of NBC’s “Community” is the meta sense of humor. Magnitude embodies the sitcom chracter with the inane catch-phrase. What no one was expecting is that this parody would become so popular! Vimeo may seem like a Youtube knock off, but it has a community of its own. One that added 4 million users last year.

9. The sue ann nivens

The living legend Betty White made a splash on the small screen with the character of Sue Anne Nivens. This lady kept the men of “The Mary Tyler Moore Show” on their toes with her sexual innuendos. There are few social networks out there as promiscous as content aggreagtors. If you aren’t sharing content on one of these sites you are missing out on great traffic. In particular Reddit has become a star driving over 2 billion page views a month.

10. The john cavil

Dean Stockwell made a triumphant return to Sci-Fi as John Cavil in “Battlestar Glatica”. This mysterious character is first seen as a priest until his real identity is revealed. If you are someone who enjoys the spiritual and ethical queries the show represented then you will love the community on Soul Pancake. In 2010 they published their first book which became a best seller.

11. The frasier

Frasier came into our life as a foil for Sam Malone on “Cheers”. He would successfully woo Diane away only to lose her at the altar. Despite this turn Fraiser Crane would become a main character on Cheers and the lead for his own show. If he is one of your favorite characters then try Vivino. This app for wine lovers helps you remember your favorite vintages. It also acts as a check-in network where you can follow your friends discoveries on the website.

12. The watch

Harold Crick Had no idea the pivitol role his watch would play by the end of “Stranger Than Fiction”. Neither did the audience for the film. This watch serves as a reminder of how the little things become important in our lives. No network represents this more than Google Plus. Much of the user base has been lost due to inactivity, but there is hope for it yet. Google is consolidating it’s many offerings under Google Plus and that is a game changer.

If you are weary to join a social network because of the “numbers” then you are missing out. As a blogger I rely on these smaller communities to build referral traffic. I form relationships with other members of the community through our daily chats. Sometimes I even stumble on a few people who truly dig the content I create. By keeping it small I am able to connect with my friends without losing them to the noise.

It is time to look at our missed opportunities for connections. What other social networks have you found that didn’t make the list?

Susan Silver


Susan is a copywriter who crafts content strategies that rank. She is also the community manager for Gygax Magazine. She shares information on business, social media, and writing.

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