Motto and Tags

3 niche social networks worth a look

Even birders have their Facebook.

Book lovers, too. And firefighters. And probably, now or sometime soon, plenty of other fans, hobbyists or just groups of people with the same interests and obsessions.

Though Facebook, the uber-website for social networking, is rapidly extending its reach far beyond the realm of college students, another type of social networking website is also drawing people interested in connecting online. Niche social networking websites, as they’re sometimes labeled, shun the come-one, come-all approach favored by Facebook. Instead, these specialized social networks focus on one angle and run with it, providing hubs of activity to meet other people and learn from the community.

Here are three of them:

  1. Shelfari
    If you’re a book lover, Shelfari provides a way to keep a sort of virtual list of all of the books you’ve read. You have a personal profile with a photo, of course, but in a way your bookshelf is the real way to tell people who you are, connect with friends, and meet new people. Shelfari provides tools to assist you in deciding what to read and to rate and review books. You can also discover new friends, in part by seeing what books you have in common with other Shelfari members
  2. Birdpost
    Birdpost provides tools to keep track of the birds you’ve spotted — and where. But that’s just the start, as Birdpost makes the most of social networking by letting you tap into a growing community of birders, as well as satellite maps and bird alerts, in order to find where others are seeing various bird species.
  3. Firefighter Nation
    Yep, it’s true, there’s a social networking for firefighters (as well as rescue and EMS personnel), and it’s a lively, thriving community, where members chat in forums, share advice and experiences, and discuss news, events, and jobs. Where else would you be able to read chat threads labeled “Radio Straps… Use them or not? Inside the coat or out? What does your department require?” or “How Not To Get Screwed On Your Fire Truck Purchase.”

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