So you have your Twitter and Facebook, why do you need to join a private/personal social network? Ask yourself first if you’re really connecting to the people close to you, like your family and close friends, not just an acquaintance or a friend of a friend. Path, Fridge, and Google+ seem to have found a solution: developing a private network for people. No worries about your boss seeing things he shouldn’t see.
Another reason to join one of the three? For freelancers, social media people, and other readers of 1stwebdesigner, I’m pretty sure that your feeds are so filled with updates from websites you are subscribed to that it no longer looks like a social networking site but a feed reader. Then there are people who’d add you as a contact even if you’ve just met once or twice, it’s a little awkward to just reject or ignore them (at least for some) right? Worry no more, read on!
Recently I wrote an article titled Social Media Misuse That Could Cost You Big Time which briefly talks about privacy, anonymity, and negative things that can happen in a social network with hundreds to thousands of people as contacts. And since the topic of privacy is hot, I thought of sharing this with you, giving you and your friends alternative ways to connect online without being troubled about other people.
The idea of a social network is to share and tell people who you are and what you do, but over time this has become somewhat ignored, giving way to gossips and stalkers. *coughs*
With the use of private social networks, issues with privacy and anonymity are erased since you only connect with people you personally know or people you share the same interests with.
Unlike other social networks, Path limits the number of people to share with by 50. Yes, only 50 people so choose wisely! The idea is actually great for a “personal” networking site since you get to choose only the people you really want to share your life with. Photos, videos, and status updates, privacy at its best.
Path is very different from Twitter and Facebook and should not be compared. The idea of having only 50 contacts is great, users are more focused and are more intimate with their contacts unlike on Facebook and Twitter where people rarely talk to each other. I just compared it, didn’t I?
Path can be accessed through a smart phone, but if you don’t have a smart phone (like me!) you can still use it, but is limited to only viewing, at least for now.
Going back to what matters, Path is like a collective diary. Users share things they’re comfortable sharing. No worries about accidentally creating a negative online persona or being misunderstood on Facebook because of your sweet/bitter posts. You have full control on who sees what you share.
Fridge’s structure is focused on grouping families, friends, and people of the same interests. Within Fridge, users can create, or join, several groups.
There has been news about employees being fired because of a tweet or a status update on Facebook, since the two social networks aren’t really that “private”. Okay, Facebook has its own List where you can group friends apart from colleagues and acquaintances, each having different access level to your profile and the things you share, but it seems not a lot of people use that feature. With Fridge, it’s not just a minor feature but is the very idea.
Fridge is also a good collaboration tool among teams. It has a lot of free tools collaborators can use such as a poll, group text messaging, events, and photo sharing.
Here’s a fun thing, you can customize your profile depending on what group you’re in. No need to create a separate account just to look cool on the Classy Group. Be yourself!
Google+ is just a few days old from launching and it has already gathered wide attention. From what I gathered, people love Google+’s ease of access on setting up groups, called Circles. Unlike with Facebook’s Lists, Google+ enables users to simply drag and drop their contacts to circles. See how a simple feature upgrade can determine whether people will use it or not? You may disagree with me, but I like the drag and drop of Circles.
Now, why is this a personal networking site again? It’s half like Facebook, but without the hassles of managing your list. Really, you just have to try it to see the difference.
A favorite is the Hangout feature, enabling people of certain circles to join a room and just talk about anything using webcam and microphone. Maybe we can all hang out once in a while, yes?
What do you think?
If you know of other private networks out there, feel free to share and discuss.
Rean was the editor of 1stwebdesigner. He regularly writes about freelancing, technology, web design, and web development. Rean also writes at a blog dedicated to teaching people how to make money online.