Birds of the same feather flock together. This age-old adage appears to be more true in today's internet age with more and more people logging on to niche social networking sites, seeking out like-minded people who share their interests, passion and concerns over issues.
While checking out facebook or orkut for pictures of a colleague's family outing or a friend's office party, or reading comments on their status updates may be of least interest to you, 'niche' social networks cater to your specific needs and interests.
Sharing trivia about football heroes, getting serious about dwindling statistics on forest cover or discussing medical research published in the latest journal can be shared with like-minded people through the niche social networking sites, which are a platform for 'meeting of minds'.
"There is lot of hype around the Big 3 — Twitter, Facebook and Orkut. But with changing user expectations and advancement in the social media, there is a new trend emerging called niche social networks," an expert said.
"Niche networking is a step ahead of general interest networking options. It directs you to the solutions for a specific interest, say business and professional networking sites which may help you with myriad solutions and information on multiple aspects of your profession and career", said Yogesh Bansal, Founder & CEO, ApnaCircle.com
"Changing user requirements are giving birth to various networking sites which are specifically responsible to cater to the 'niche' target audience in terms of their specific interests, backgrounds, professions and age group," he said.
Rahul Razdan, President Product and Operations, ibibo.com said, "On popular social networking sites, often just 10 per cent of all your friends or colleagues are really active or posting information. The others just consume what is being posted. But niche social networks are all together a different activity where you end up contributing and reading about what really tugs your heart and mind."
According to a study on social media by marketing research company ComScore, ibibo.com saw its user base jump from 15,62,000 in July 2009 to 29,60,000 in July 2010. While Shtyle.fm saw a jump from 4,07,000 users in July 2009 to 15,50,000 users after a year, LinkedIn had 42,92,000 users in July last year and the number went up to 44,32,000 in the same month this year.