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Every day, new and exciting social media platforms emerge which help people share ideas, distribute content and connect with those that have similar interests. Staying on top of new sites that are relevant to your industry and interests can inspire you on a personal level, or maybe even help you gain an edge on your competitors.

So to honor new and different, let’s play a game called, “it’s like this… for that.” This game is commonly played in Silicon Valley, where start-ups are looking for the simplest way to pitch their new product or service. I’ve handpicked 5 lesser known sites that have sparked my interest and are like Facebook, but for other things:

The Fancy: It’s like an Online Sky Mall magazine/Pinterest hybrid, for high end brands and savvy shoppers

real life batman motorcycle

The Fancy is a lot like Pinterest, except for one big difference: it was created to make money. The site does this by focusing on material goods you want to buy rather than things that inspire you. The Fancy is also going after a more sophisticated market, and brands like Gucci, Ferrari and Louis Vuitton can be found on this site. Surprisingly, unlike similar sites, men participate as much as women. The site features novelty items like an instant wine chiller, horizontal showers, wood post cards and a motorcycle fit for Batman. From a merchant’s standpoint, The Fancy platform allows you to provide those who are interested in your product, custom deals and sales. I find the site mesmerizing because I like to entertain my mind about the lifestyle of the rich and famous. With an $18 million investment, and endorsements from people like Mark Zuckerberg and Mr. Fancy himself, Kanye West, I guess it’s only a matter of time before we know if enough people will fancy it enough to make the site last.

I Wanna Nom: It’s like Pinterest for recipes

Nom, nom, nom. This is the place to be if you have a food blog, are a self-proclaimed foodie, or just need a last minute recipe to impress your in-laws. Much like Pinterest, I Wanna Nom has beautiful pictures of different kinds of food that link to food blogs where you can find their recipes. Once you’ve “nomed” a dish you can give it a rating and leave a comment about what you thought or how you modified it. Personally, I’ve never been much of a cook, but this site let’s me pretend that one day, it could happen.

Although there is a fair amount of food porn on Pinterest, I Wanna Nom and other Pinterest clones have been created to narrow in on specific niches and interests. Also check out, Pingram (a Pinterest for Instagram), Tailored (a Pinterest for weddings), Sworly (a Pinterest for music), and PinCat (a Pinterest for crazy cat ladies, and one guy at our office, we’ll call him Derek).

a pintrest for crazy cat ladies

Gtrot: It’s like a Foursquare/Pinterest hybrid for people looking for things to do

I almost wrote Gtrot off as another Pinterest clone, but that would be unfair because Gtrot has evolved into something much more than that. Gtrot uses foursquare to crowd source photos and tips from cities across the world. The interface is Pinterest-esq and allows you to organize places (photos) into categories like you would with Pinterest, i.e. “Things I want to do,” and “Places I’ve been.” But other than that it’s more about putting a visual image to the cool places that make cities what they are: restaurants, nightlife, museums, concert venues and events. It’s a good little site for those who want to easily check out some popular things to do in a new city or their hometown.

Branch: It’s like a Google+ Circles/Quora hybrid for publishers, readers and thought leaders

Looking to establish yourself as a leader in your industry? Branch was created by the founders of Twitter and hopes to bring writers and readers together in a way they can share ideas intelligently. It’s basically a grown up approach to conversation that happens every day on sites like Facebook and Twitter. Branch users can pull content from anywhere on the web and start a conversation on the subject, as well as embed conversation threads on WordPress and Tumblr. Whether you want to discuss the upcoming election or a new start up, Branch brings people together who want to have “meaningful conversations without the noise.” I’m not sure how much different Branch is than Quora but it has potential to gain an academic following.


Design:Related: It’s like a Tumblr/LinkedIn hybrid, but for the design community

Design:Related is a community site where users can upload portfolios, read news and network to build relationships or find job opportunities. The site is heavily targeted to those in the design and related industries, hence the name.

Design:Related is meant to inspire those in the art and design industry although even people like can appreciate the website that feels like you’re walking through a graphic design school’s art gallery. It would be cool if other industries adopted a version of Design:Related because I think the site is onto something by posting job opportunities.

Essentially new social sites are looking to solve problems that current platforms can’t. With so much competition on the internet only time will tell if smaller niche sites will provide more value to users or the major players will continue to dominate social space.

What do you think about these new sites? Are they all just the same thing but for something else? I would love to hear comments about what you think social media will become in the future.