FutureWire - futurism and emerging technology

Monday, July 17, 2006

Social Networking Sites Serve Niche Audiences

Now that MySpace has become the dominant general-purpose social networking website -- as well as the most popular destination on the web -- new entrants are focusing on specialized audiences. Witness Dogster and Catster, sites where dog lovers and cat lovers can create their own web pages, post pictures of their furry friends, join forums, look at dogs and cats up for adoption, and even chat.

For people looking for a clever way to share their life story with others, dandelife is a beta "social biography network" that allows members to create biographies along a timeline, integrating links, YouTube videos and Flickr photos to document people, places and activities. Not everyone wants to document their life this way, but for those who do, dandelife offers an innovative and intuitive means of doing so.

In addition to serving niche audiences, specialized sites cater to users who may be overwhelmed by a general site like MySpace, or turned off because of the controversy it has generated lately.

RELATED: Dating sites have similarly become more specialized. Prescription4Love.com is an online dating service for people with chronic conditions such as cancer, diabetes, obesity and even STDs. STD dating sites have been around for some time, but those with other chronic conditions have not been as well served. As TechCrunch says, "One consequence of the falling cost of computers will undoubtedly be an increase in the number of people who have chronic medical conditions but are now able to afford to be online. Im sure in the future we will see many, many more services targeting the life styles and needs of demographic groups previously unable to use the web at all."

Source: Smart Mobs