Best Specialized Social Media Sites

Facebook and Twitter are great for keeping up with general happenings of you family, friends and acquaintances.  While it is possible to tailor these sites to fit your interests, sometimes it can also be interesting to participate in a niche social media site, in addition to your regular social media sites.  On such sites, it is easy to find like-minded people and connect with them.  Most conversations and information focuses on the site’s main theme, so there is no need to weed through superfluous posts to get to what you really want to read.  No, niche social sites aren’t good for keeping up with your old high school friends and far-away relatives, but for finding like-minded individuals who share your passions, they are much more effective than Facebook and Twitter.

Here are four niche social media sites that you should check out if they match your interest.

Cafe Mom

This site quickly became on the most popular sites on the internet for women in the over 18 demographic.  Anyone can browse the site, though participants must be registered users.  Registered users can create blogs and pages, ask questions and provide advice to other members.  In many ways, this site is similar to Facebook.  Users have a page (similar to a Facebook wall) where they can post things and interact with others.  Cafe Mom members can also interact with users on other sites such as Facebook via a chat application.

Deviant Art

This site is one of the most popular social networks for artists.  It is a hybrid between a social network and a portfolio hosting site.  Users can upload their artwork and create a page and portfolio.   Any member can comment on other users’ art and create a group, write a journal (blog), or conduct a poll of other users.  The site is hugely popular amongst artists, with many professionals maintaining a presence on Deviant Art in addition to their professional portfolios that are hosted on their own websites.  Deviant Art is a very active site, with over 100,000 new submissions uploaded daily and more than a million comments posted on works of art each day.  Many people who are not themselves artists become members in order to browse the wealth of artwork.

Urbanspoon

This huge site has peer created reviews of restaurants from all around the US and even in other countries.  Users can search restaurants and read reviews form local and national food critics and media personalities.  They can also see reviews by local food bloggers and can provide their own reviews or browse peer-created reviews.  Diners can vote for their favorite restaurant.  Restaurants are scored and ranked according to their cuisine and location.  For those who want to find and provide restaurant information, this is a wonderful site.  If you are someone who likes to take pictures of your food and blog about it, other sites like Epicurious or Chowhound might be a better fit, as they are more foodie-oriented.

Bootsnall

This resource for independent travelers features travel guides as well as peer created blogs, photos taken by members, and a number of forums.  In short, this is a social media site that doesn’t really feel like a social media site spited its focus on peer-created content.  If you are a serious traveler and want to interact with other serious independent travelers, this is the place to do it.

Of course, not all social media niche sites have the same allure.  Some might be focused on subjects that you are passionate about, but they might be poorly run and inhabited by people who use the site’s features for things other than talking about the subject that they are supposed to be discussing.  Every site has this problem to some extent, but good sites also draw serious hobbyists and professionals who can really elevate the overall user-experience.

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