When you think about social networks there’s only one really big one that comes to mind; Facebook. At more than 800 million members strong, Facebook is still growing like a weed. Many of my friends are addicted to Facebook and find it a great way to stay in touch with family and friends.
I’m in the opposite camp; I find Facebook noisy and impersonal. Sure, there are the occasional posts from my friends that I find interesting, and some of the photos are cute, but in general I’m not a fan of Facebook because most of my ‘friends’ are really more like ‘acquaintances’ and their posts hold little interest to me.
Thankfully, there’s a groundswell of new up-and-coming social networks that aim to improve on the Facebook model of sharing information with friends, and most concentrate on only one aspect. As an aside, these latest social networks seem to go to iPhone and iPad first, rather than starting as websites and then going to mobile.
Instagram (free), now enjoyed by more than 11 million users, bills itself as a ‘fun and quirky way to share your life with friends through a series of pictures. Snap a photo with your iPhone, then choose a filter to transform the look and feel of the shot into a memory to keep around forever’.
The Instagram app is a picture of simplicity. There’s a large ‘Share’ button in the centre of the toolbar that lets
you either snap a picture or select one from your library. Before you share your photo via most social networks you can choose to apply over 14 different filters that will make your image shine. My favourites are Earlybird and Lomo-fi.
Instagram is a free app and it’s free to share unlimited photos. Pictures you share on Instagram are available to the public via a simple web-link, or you can choose to make them private.Once uploaded friends can comment and ‘like’ your photos, which provides a more social experience.
I mean ‘things’; restaurants, books, movies, music and anything else you can think of. You don’t need to rate a book out of 10, or a movie out of 100 or a restaurant out of five. You just go around and ‘stamp’ things you like.
When you download the free app and sign up you’ll receive 100 stamps to use. The only way you can get more stamps is by having others also stamp things that you like, or having them ‘like’ your stamps.
You can add photos to your stamps, manage a to-do list (useful if you want to buy anything that someone else has stamped), and share your stamps on all the other social networks.
Stamped is an interesting concept that really tries to reduce the complexity of sharing the things you like with your friends.
Path, ‘a smart journal that helpsyou share life with the ones you love’, is probably the closest thing to Facebook, but it’s better for a few reasons.
Firstly, you’re limited to the number of people you can be friends with, so you’re more likely to share your Path with only people you really care about. Secondly, Path on the iPhone is a seriously great app to use – the design and interface have been so thoughtfully put together.
In a similar vein to Instagram, you snap a photo with Path (free) and then can apply a filter to make it look interesting. Once committed, Path pastes the photo into your timeline which creates a nice way for you to visually see the dates and times as you create your memories.