Is Facebook as annoying as your 200th-best friend? Is Twitter just for angry old people and online harassment? Here's six alternatives that each, in their own way, take new approaches to social media, including some that don't seem like social media at all (but they are).
1. Be My Eyes
Silicon Valley companies all talk about their commitment to changing the world and making the world a 'better place' - most of the time these are empty platitudes. But now there's a social media application that lets you actually help change someone's life. Be My Eyes - download the app, and it will connect you via video chat with a blind user who needs you to be their eyes. Figure out the expiration date on a food package, or guide them through an unfamiliar space. It's like Chatroulette grew up and figured out what to do with itself. While this may not be a mass market social network, or true 'alternative' to Facebook, once you use it for a few interactions - you realize that social networking can be a force for good, and not just liking cat videos or commenting on desert choices.
Despite the pervy name, DeviantArt is a huge, mainstream visual arts community that hosts nearly 40 million users, who upload over 150,000 works each day. If you're looking for a dose of truly original work, this community is your one-stop shop. And unlike YouTube, the comments aren't a hive of scum and villainy. Historically - in fact for millennia, art has been a conversation starter, and like Flickr before it, DeviantArt aims to spark conversations around artwork, and put like minded people together. If Art's your thing, then this Social Network will definitely give you a meaningful way to connect with interesting and likeminded people.
Sure, an app for drinking beer seems weirdly specific (and also, doesn't beer work just fine without an app?) but making it social allows you to explore the vast world of different beers, track what you've already tried (and loved or hated), and connect with like-minded folks who take beer as seriously as you do. If social networking is in fact about being social, is there anything in the world that's a greater social lubricant than beer?
Another interest-specific website, Ravelry is for all things knit or crocheted. The average sweater takes 3 weeks to knit...These folks have a lot of spare time, and obviously a lot of spare time leads to a lot of things to talk about, and naturally Ravelry is a one-stop shop for patterns, techniques, inspiration, and communing with fellow fans of yarn. It's a stitch-and-bitch you can fire up wherever you are!
Tired of the fakery that Facebook advocates through your 500 "friends"? Frustrated that Facebook's "privacy" settings that are obviously rigged to make sure your photos from Saturday leak public? Finding those social ads a little TOO targeted and creepy? (Yes I'm looking at you Game of Thrones branded condom manufacturer!). Just10 tries to solve all these issues. Users are limited to just ten friends (thus the name) a restriction that forces you to pick people you really want to share with. Privacy settings are not required because everything is only private, and content is automatically deleted in 10 days. The service is ad-free, and promises to stay that way. All these features along with full support for mobile apps and end-to-end encryption make Just10 a new and interesting alternative to Facebook.
Another app that tries to make social smaller, Nextdoor wants to connect you to your physical neighbors. In a world where it seems many of us know people on the other side of the planet better than the woman across the street, their pitch is "to use the power of technology to build stronger and safer neighborhoods" (not to mention figuring out who that strange person is wandering past your house at 3AM). With it's 'local' based features and assortment of services related to connecting with your own barrio, Nextdoor is a viable alternative to Facebook if your goal is to meet and connect with people in your neighborhood.