Facebook, LinkedIn and MySpace dominate the social networking landscape but there are many people looking for a more relevant place to digitally network.
Facebook, for example, is the “Starbucks” of social networking but there are lots of consumers happily patronizing smaller chains or independents because they meet their needs differently or better.
As John Jantsch wrote in a recent blog post, many people are looking to connect with people within social networks that cater to specific professions (e.g. real estate, law) or interests (e.g. baseball, karaoke).
These networks don’t get a lot of attention but they do exist, and maybe now is the time for them to gain more traction as Facebook and LinkedIn become exceedingly mainstream.
In other words, if everyone’s partying at the same place, there may be opportunities for other places to establish themselves as the new, cool place.
The biggest challenge facing these niche or vertical network is selling people on the idea that size doesn’t matter. These networks are more about the quality of connections rather than quantity. They are places where like-minded individuals can connect with each other with far less noise.