East End Tech: Logging onto the Anti-Social Networks


It’s official: The Space Race between Facebook and Twitter is on. Fueled by its successful IPO, the Twitterati are making a big push into Facebook’s turf, 140 characters at a time. Twitter’s claim: We are faster, simpler, and man those celebrities love us. Facebook’s response: Anything you can do, we can do better, only with photos and videos. The stakes? Millions of viewers and billions in potential ad revenue.

(Shhh. Don’t look now, but little old Pinterest is fast approaching in the rearview.)

But really, why follow the crowd? Who wants to join a club that lets everyone in? Fortunately, there’s plenty of room in cyberspace. We’re eternally blessed with a neverending supply of “new” social networks…scrappy upstarts trying to emerge from the shadows and find a piece of real estate on the sunny side of the block.

I did some digging and came up with some doozies. These are actual social networks just waiting for you to join:

Prime Hangout
I learned about this site while driving around Los Angeles. Two things stick out. First, they purchased a lot of outdoor billboards using the exact same colors and fonts as Facebook. Let’s hope they saved some money to hire good lawyers. Second, many of these billboards seem to be located near a California medical marijuana store. Not saying there’s a connection, but still.

Cougar Life
This is a social network and dating site where older women and young studs can connect for romance, hanky panky and other alimony-squandering activities. I wondered: Why isn’t there a social network for older dudes trying to meet young women? Oh, wait a sec.

Sugardaddie.com calls itself “dating for the attractive and successful.” There’s even a testimonial on the home page praising it as a “class organization.” Well all right then!

Having bad luck on the human social networks? Check out Dogster or Catster. That’s right, these are focused communities where animal lovers can connect and mingle over their mutual love for their pets. No idea what happens if you try to join both.

Social networks have typically been digital. Nextdoor is a startup that wants to do things the old fashioned way: by connecting you with the people who actually live on your block or in your neighborhood. Never mind that you can already do this on your own by leaving your home in the morning and saying hello to those neighbors. These guys have raised over $100 million (!) in funding from some of the top VCs in Silicon Valley. Maybe they’re onto something. Worth checking out.

Stache Passions
We just completed “Decembeard”—the most shameless mass marketing month of the year—and the folks on Madison Ave. have gotten into the act by encouraging men to grow facial hair for charity. Turns out, Stache Passions is the site where guys already do this. I spent an hour there and didn’t meet any beaded women.

Farmers Only
This is an interesting one. I’m not sure how you authenticate and prove that you’re actually a farmer. It is also unclear which crops and livestock qualify. But living out on the prairie can be lonely—nothing to do but count the money from government subsidies. So this social network actually makes sense.

Line For Heaven
When all else fails, and you’ve had no luck meeting anyone on earth, you can always try heaven. This site is basically a prayer version of Amway; you upload a photo and get others to do the same. For each referral and act of kindness (confessions, prayers) you score “karma points” that get you closer to heaven.

I don’t know about you, but I’m praying for my own miracle: the return of Breaking Bad.

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