Ask any American to name the most popular social media platforms and Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and maybe YouTube will top the charts. Some people don’t even consider YouTube social media, but that’s what it is. While these four powerful platforms might be popular stateside, but around the world there’s other social sites that are thriving.
It won’t be long before the U.S. is hit with a glutton of new social media platforms, too. There’s a trend towards going micro-local and experiencing intimacy with social media. Basically, platforms will cater to smaller groups and some will even encourage people to make plans online and then head out into the real world to enjoy them. Here are some of the most popular SM platforms around the world, and why Americans might want to join.
43 Things and Bebo
Never heard of 43 Things? It has three million (yes, million) users around the world and launched all the way back in 2005. However, the focus is far from sharing vacation photos and pictures of food on this site. It’s all about helping people achieve goals—it’s basically the do-gooder social media platform that has somehow remained a best kept secret in the U.S.
Some people have heard of Bebo, but they may not realize this SM platform has a few million users. It’s a general site, much like Facebook, but since Facebook has a billion users, Bebo naturally feels a little more intimate. Around since 2005, Bebo was popular during the days of MySpace and was the most popular social site in United Kingdom for awhile. Last week, Bebo announced it will be closed for maintenance.
QZone and VK
QZone is a popular Chinese social networking site. At the end of 2012 it was just under 600 million users with 150 million of those users active at least once a month. The unique part of QZone, however, is that members have to pay to unlock certain features. Created in 2005, QZone is part of their instant messaging service Tencent QQ. QZone is most known as a platform for blogging and self-expression but it does provide many features such as online social games, shopping and music.
VK, or Vkontakte, is the largest social network in Europe and very popular in Russia as well. The layout is shockingly similar to Facebook, the VK platform was created in 2006 and boosts over 100 million active users. VK is available in seventy languages, the same as Facebook, but the social site hasn’t caught fire in the U.S. like they were hoping.
Busuu and Buzznet
Busuu is out of Madrid, Spain but it appeals to anyone who wants to learn a new language. It’s kind of like a language exchange program, but with plenty of social media influences. You can find a partner here to practice language exchange, or some people join just to offer their services up for free and meet people around the world. It began in 2008 and already has 12 million users flocking there to learn something new.
Buzznet boasts 10 million users and is all about music and pop culture. On the map since 2005, it’s already achieved what the MySpace overhaul is hoping to do. It’s unclear whether or not the new MySpace will give Buzznet any real competition, but there’s no such thing as too much music. Fans will likely check out both.
Café Mom and Care2
It might not be the most creative name, but Café Mom is doing well as a social media platform just for mothers. With over one million users, the site has been up since 2006 and it’s a favorite virtual hangout for moms looking to exchange tips, ideas or just vent to others who understand. It also serves a niche community. If only something like this existed years ago when moms were stuck with nothing but Dr. Spock books for help.
Formed back in 1998 to connect activist around the world, Care2 surprisingly has over 23 million users. It focuses on green, sustainable living practices. Anyone of any age can join, and it’s a great resource for learning tricks on recycling, composting, and lessening carbon footprints.
This is just a sampling of what’s out there. There’s other social sites like India’s BIGADDA, which is more an Indian e-commerce site that allows users to share photos and music. If you want to find a unique gift, like cheap cat traps, hop onto their site for some fun exploring. The sky is the limit in what you can find online!