Four New Social Networks to Watch in 2012

For over a decade, broad and comprehensive social networks like Facebook and its previously popular predecessor, MySpace, have been the predominant social networks. In the last few years, startups have been building niche social networks that offer unique features depending on users’ interests. Some of these networks are geared towards those affected by cancer, and others towards pet owners. While Facebook doesn’t look like its popularity or growth are going to slow down anytime soon, several of these other niche networks are positioned to become just as hot for those with specialized interests. Here are four new social networks to watch in 2012 — and potentially even join, too.

Empire Avenue

We initially wrote about Empire Avenue as soon as it launched in early 2011, and while this social network isn’t “new,” it is finally out of beta and more popular than ever. Empire Avenue is a social network with an intense gamification layer, allowing users to buy and sell virtual stock in other users based on the social influence of others as determined by their activity on a plethora of external social networks, including Twitter, Facebook, Google+, Foursquare, their blogs, and much more. The reasons for using Empire Avenue are incredibly beneficial, especially for networking. As I wrote last year, this social network can help you connect with “some of the best and brightest of social media (or, just with those you admire and respect in the real world),” which can also help lead you to business opportunities, such as partnerships and jobs. New features of Empire Avenue, including missions, can also benefit your external social networks, including increased readership, boost to Facebook fan pages, and even an increase in Klout score, which provides a circular benefit to your Empire Avenue price and position in the “game” layer of the network.


You’ve likely heard about Foursquare by now, and might even use it to claim bragging rights by checking in the most to your local coffee shop or bar as the “mayor.” While checking in on Foursquare can help share your daily whereabouts with your friends and potentially claim a discount for frequenting your local coffee shop, the emerging social network GetGlue wants to duplicate the process while you’re enjoying TV, a movie, or music so your friends know what you’re watching or listening to just as often as they know that you’re getting Thai for dinner yet again. Using GetGlue is easy; users can simply check in to a show they are watching, which can be tweeted or shared on other social networks just like Foursquare. It’s an easy way to tell your friends that you’re watching the newest episode of your favorite show without having to think of a witty tweet or Facebook update. GetGlue will also share how many other GetGlue users are watching the show or movie with you at the same time, which can help potentially sway your friends to tune in — all with just a few taps on your smartphone. GetGlue is a free app for iPhone, iPad, and Android users and was recently awarded “Breakout Startup of the Year” by Mashable. If you watch TV and movies or listen to music, this is not just an app to watch, but a must-have in 2012.


Need something to do? A self described “scrappy” team on Google is working on what’s destined to be a hot new social component of Google’s social products. This app, called “Schemer” is simply designed to help you “do stuff.” While it’s still in invite-only mode, the site says “Schemer lets you discover new things to do, share schemes with friends, and make the most of your day…whether it’s exploring a new city, checking out a friend’s movie recommendation, or just finding new activities for your weekends.” It’s hard to say whether this will become a component of Google+ or get axed just as fast as other “projects” Google test drives then kills, like its entire collection of Labs. Considering the increasing adoption of Google+ — and the fact new Google users must join Google+ — Schemer could quickly become a hot social network if automatically integrated. If you want to try it out for yourself first, sign up for an invite at

Four New Social Networks to Watch in 2012If you’re looking for a social network that allows you to choose your niche within a social network, is quickly becoming a popular option and addition to the regular routine of using just Facebook (and perhaps Twitter and Google+). This new social network, owned by UberMedia (which famously lost a bid to buy TweetDeck to Twitter in early 2011), launched last fall and is formatted in a way that allows users to post what are essentially micro-blogs, though much more elegantly than Facebook’s new similar intent of the same style. According to Sheigh, the Executive Editor at UberMedia and, at, “it’s incredibly easy to share videos, publish polls, create photo galleries, share news memes, and write media-enriched posts.” She adds that, like Facebook’s status updates, “chimes” can be liked, commented on, and shared to other social networks. The difference between and Facebook, however, is that is organized around interests rather than by contacts. Sheigh says that “the interests enable both topical and social discovery.” uses an editorial team to keep users active and engaged, which has generated a very thoughtful community. For those looking to escape the mundane or negativity of more popular social networks, is a great alternative and, as we mentioned last year, has the potential to be the next big social network if it continues its current growth pattern.

Have you recently joined a new social network? Share your favorite up-and-coming niche networks in the comments below.

Article Written by

Kelly Clay, author of Blog Without Boundaries, is a freelance writer and lifestyle advisor.

  • Jimi Forge

    oh well i dont think ill be on any of those. im already on google+ and…………………..

  • Jimi Forge

    oh well i dont think ill be on any of those. im already on google+ and…………………..

  • Mitch

    I have joined a new one called

  • Anonymous

    hm interesting

  • Anonymous

    a la /. interesting and informative. I shall check out Chime. ty Gnome. btw have followed you since…let me see…1996 I think

  • PenypickeR

    Can’t see any of them being massive unless they do something to place themselves in a major and notable niche.

  • Stritar

    What about Path, Instagram and Pinterest? They have managed to build a massive audience.

    • Chris Pirillo

      They already kinda got big… big enough for people to recognize ’em.

  • Nrjperera

    I think, soon Microsoft’s Socl project got what it takes to come head to head with current social networks.and its definitely better than Schemer.  not sure why its not included here.

  • Nrjperera

    I think, soon Microsoft’s Socl project got what it takes to come head to head with current social networks.and its definitely better than Schemer.  not sure why its not included here.

    • Chris Pirillo

      … You do realize it requires a Facebook account to log in? :)

      • Roshan Perera

        well if you consider it that way. Schemer requires a Google account too. and i know its related with Google but still its the same thing.. Socl will get developed enough to stand alone.i have faith in Microsoft :)

      • Samiam

        Just… like… the things.. on…. this… list…

    • Chris Pirillo

      … You do realize it requires a Facebook account to log in? :)

  • Julio C Rendon

    SpotBross!!! This new Social Network is teh best of the new Socials Networks out there

  • Lissa96325

    do you think these social network can bet Facebook ? i know every raising sun has to set one day but FB have huge number of audience… what do you say ?

  • Levanter03

    aren’t there just too much of websites to post and update your whereabouts and whatever it is you’re doing?

  • Levanter03

    aren’t there just too much of websites to post and update your whereabouts and whatever it is you’re doing?

  • Kol Tregaskes

    Only is really new here.  Schemer maybe at a stretch.  GetGlue and Empire Avenue have been going for a while now.  Miso is a better social network than GetGlue btw.

  • Peace

    We need many more options so as to enhance the vision. There are millions of websites added per day but I do not understand why there is always less ratio of social. Also invite only sites should be boycotted.

  • Brendon Lees

    I just started using Empire Avenue again after forgetting about it for a while. Its actually kind of fun!
    I might have to take a look at the other three as well.

  • Jojo Wozz

    I am a 27 years old doctor,mature and beautiful. and now i am seeking a good man who can give me real love, so i got a sername Andromeda2002 on  Agedate.СòM, a nice and free place for younger women and older men,or older women and younger men, to interact with each other.Maybe you wanna check out or tell your friends.

  • John Mark Ivey

    I’m so glad Spiceworks didn’t make the list. If they had better Ui and content and less salesmen hitting up every marketing person in my org maybe they’d be more popular. Whoosh. ok I feel better now.

  • mikelking

    I’ve been on Empire Avenue, GetGlue and even since their launch. EAv is interesting and I have written several articles on how to maximize your valuation. Sure you can use your #fb account to set these but I always add that stupid thing as a last resort.

    As for Microsoft ans I have absolutely no faith in their ability to pull of anything social networking. In fact I am so over this we gotta build a competing social network mentality. Honestly we do not need more social media we need better social media.


  • Peter G McDermott

    I’m surprised that Pinterest wasn’t included. I keep getting e-mails about Empire Avenue, I guess I should join…

  • VTrocker87 is also pretty great, Real-time social discovery of what friends and the people around you want to do.