6 Alternatives to Facebook

If you’re familiar with the social network giant Facebook, you’ll know privacy has been an increasingly hot topic. While it is a top dog in its field, it’s been growing a reputation for taking advantage of users and their privacy. So why don’t people leave? The most common answer I hear is, “What other choice do I have?”

Well, here are five alternatives to Facebook that are worth giving a shot.

Why?

If you’re not aware, privacy is a serious issue and concern on Facebook. Though many people unfamiliar with Facebook’s privacy have no idea just how much “their” [actually Facebook's] information is taken advantage of and used, in what many people feel is, against them. It’s hard to blame anyone for not understanding Facebook’s privacy settings or TOS as it changes so frequently it’s difficult to keep up.

The problem is Facebook has little to no desire in saving your privacy, but would rather slowly reduce it under everyone’s nose. A social network run by someone with such a history of disregard can be dangerous, so for those of you interested, here are some alternatives.

Why not.

Though Facebook’s privacy concerns are of great importance to some, staying in contact with friends and family tends to take precedence. Let’s face it, Facebook is the giant it is because it’s the best social network out there at the moment. You likely won’t find anything better (except maybe a collective set of services) for the time being.

Bebo

Bebo

1. Bebo

Bebo, by AOL, is growing in popularity in the United States but is one of the most popular in the UK and surrounding areas. From what I understand, Bebo is one of the few social networking sites that defaults your profile to private, a welcome feature for those looking to escape Facebook’s anti-privacy hands.

There’s a large selection of third party social media integration along with the typical capabilities you’d expect such as photo tags, videos, music, etc.

Bebo Home

Bebo Home

Friendster

Friendster

2. Friendster

Friendster is already quite popular in Asia but has also grown in popularity in the United States. The network offers quite a few features to customize your profile, offering quite a few profile skins. Like Facebook, Friendster has quite a few great applications you can add to your profile, ranging from chat room apps to syncing with your iTunes library.

Friendster’s privacy is also more limited than what you’ll find with Facebook. Thought Friendster’s design doesn’t really compare to Facebook, it still offers many of the typical features you’d expect.

Friendster Profile

Friendster Profile

Orkut

Orkut

3. Orkut

Okut, from Google, is already heavily popular in places such as Brazil and India, though it has failed to gain traction in the United States. Orkut requires a Gmail Google account, though many people already have one. Like Facebook, Orkut doesn’t does allow profile theme customization but does allow the typical photo sharing and apps. Edit: Thanks for the updated information feen!

Orkut’s privacy controls may be welcome to some, giving users finer control and the ability to block users, report spam, etc. Other networking features aren’t as in-depth as you’ll find with Facebook but it’s a good start.

Orkut Home

Orkut Home

FriendFeed

FriendFeed

4. FriendFeed

FriendFeed is much less of a full blown social network and more of a social media aggregator that makes it easy for friends to follow a user’s potentially massive amount of information (thus the name). This is the ultimate point of a social network though, right? Staying updated on people’s shared information?

Although this is a great service, it was actually acquired by Facebook in 2009. How that affects its privacy, I’m not quite sure. If you have comments on this particular aspect, please share via comment below.

FriendFeed Home

FriendFeed Home

Ning

Ning

5. Ning

Ning takes a far different approach to social networking, allowing people to create their own social networks. So, it’s essentially a social network of social networks. Part of the beauty of this is that you can create and discover social networks based on your interestes. Although, the idea is similar to Facebook’s Groups but Ning gives you more control over your social network.

Ning Home

Ning Home

6. Real Life

The best social network ever created is the one you hopefully live in every day. There’s really no substitute for getting out and visiting people — face to face. Social networks like Facebook have disrupted so many people’s real social lives that completely ditching online social networks is growing in popularity. There use to be a time when people did more than just text, email and message each other! Get out there and be human. :)

Share Yours

There are many great social networks out there. If you use one that you particularly like, share it with us via comment below. Thanks!

Note: Please don’t include Twitter or MySpace as those have been intentionally left off the list.

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  • http://kuldar.kalvik.ee Kuldar

    Someone should create this and change the logo.

    http://informationarchitects.jp/ias-2006-facebook-designs-redesigned/

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  • http://cybergyaan.blogspot.com Jeyaganesh

    orkut is losing market ..credits to facebook

    • DIBYAJYOTI ROY CHOUDHURY

      facebook has already been lost their market. this is time for google+ which it is best forever.

  • http://cybergyaan.blogspot.com Jeyaganesh

    some juicy statistics about the facebook (the giant )

    http://cybergyaan.blogspot.com/2010/03/30-amazing-statistics-about-facebook.html

  • http://www.beoriginal.com Jonathan

    I like http://virb.com
    Probably the best designed social networking platform.

    • http://Web.AppStorm.net Jarel Remick

      Thanks for the recommendation. Looks fantastic. I just signed up and may do a full review on it. :)

      • http://www.infrasoundkids.com L1 The Producer

        Yeah, I use Virb for the music player alone and embed it on my site. I’d love if more people joined and it became the next big thing just because it’s so much better than everything else.

  • http://twitter.com/chrismj83 Chris Johnson

    I wouldn’t suggest Bebo as AOL have said they are looking to sell or shut the service down after a fall in profits.

    • http://www.bebo.com Sebastian

      AOL sold bebo to Criterion Capital Partners and is currently undergoing redesign phases with new additional features added to the site, Bebo still remains in a healthy operation today.

  • http://www.gason.com.ar Gason

    The problem with this alternatives is that people I know is not there. It took years for grandma to learn how to Facebook!

    But we should all learn how to get the best privacy settings for our needs.

    • http://Web.AppStorm.net Jarel Remick

      Yeah, I completely understand. It’s a lose-lose situation; you give up your privacy or you give up some level of communication with certain friends/family.

  • http://bradyjfrey.com Brady J. Frey

    …or you can install WordPress’ Buddypress and with a few plugins roll your own. Again though, market share and training is a whole other subject.

    Side note, I didn’t even know friendster was still alive and well!

  • Spreng

    I think 6 is the best answer. You just don’t see people getting outdoors, exercising, and etc. as much as they used to. People need to get off the couch, turn off the TV or monitor and meet, talk or play with real friends, not some cyberfriend they added to their friends list online. Or just get outside, there is a reason for those shows that encourage people to get outside and exercise just a couple times a day.

    • Leen P

      I use Facebook to stay in touch with my family overseas, interstate, from the past. So sorry Spreng, U obviously have never moved house, let alone moved interstate or overseas – Your comment is a bit short sighted IMO.

  • Laurent

    You have also the Open Source project Elgg which let you build your own social network on your own server if you want :

    http://elgg.org/

    http://elgg.com/

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  • http://@sgoodin Shelly Goodin

    Thanks for the scoop on the 6 alternate social networking sites. Wondering how things will play out with Facebook post backlash to lack of privacy issue.

  • feen

    Orkut does NOT require a Gmail account. It requires a Google Account, which can be made with any email address you want. It DOES allow you to customize your profile with a theme.

    • http://Web.AppStorm.net Jarel Remick

      Thanks, I’ll update the article accordingly. :)

  • Jonathan

    Just realized how funny it is that, probably the second biggest network, MySpace, was left off the list. Yet friendster made it. Awesome! :)

    • http://Web.AppStorm.net Jarel Remick

      MySpace was intentionally left off the list, as was Twitter. These are social networks everyone pretty much already knows about.

  • http://www.cuby.co.nr Henry Bennett

    I guess facebook wins out in the end for no reason other that the fact that it has the masses of users. Love option number 6. Real Life though! Great to see it included!

  • http://www.glosonblog.com Gloson

    Hahaha… the Real Life part made me laugh! :-) Facebook is not a substitute for real social life, but only an extension.

  • Gaf

    Pip.io still in beta I think but has some gd features and also let’s you intergrate facebook so you can slowly banish it from you life

  • Tim

    Friend Feed is owned by Facebook. Aol is selling Bebo, Ning just laid off 40% of staff and the CEO left. I say Twitter and build your own.

  • Halil Özgür

    Sum them up all and you still get less than Facebook. Like it or not, people are using it. If there is an alternative, people will know about it. It is simple ;)

  • http://www.eightpage.com Con Schneider

    Hey guys,

    We are a team of five from Mainz, Germany and we recently launched an alternative of our own: http://www.eightpage.com.

    We would be honored if you stop by and give it a try.
    Cheers.
    Constantin

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  • Paulo Melo

    Why have you left professional networks out of your list (such as plaxo or linkedin)?
    What abour hi5?
    Cheers
    Paulo

  • http://www.aaronkwhite.com Aaron White

    I work for a new startup out of Edmonton, Alberta called Empire Avenue http://www.empireavenue.com The site is in an Invite Beta but we’re launching a ton of new community features next week.

  • http://www.oxochart.com/en JH

    A different type of network, designed in Flash.
    Visually amazing.
    oxochart.com

  • Jerry

    I have a HUGE problem with Facebook. It got to the point where I’ve deleted every single comment and post I ever made, set my privacy settings to the most secure available, and short of unsubscribing to the service, have for all intents and purposes shut my page down.

    I live in a midsouthern State. Small town. Transplanted here many years ago. My issues with Facebook is the people I know and “friended” have major obsessions with airing their dirty laundry (personal issues), voicing religious beliefs and scripture quotes to the point of nausea, and political comments.

    If THIS is what a social network is all about, what a HUGE waste of my time. It appears to be a place where critical thinking is shunned.

    My question is, what alternative to facebook offers you the opportunity to connect with people who practice any sort of sane behavior outside of what I’ve Listed, if you don’t KNOW anyone else personally outside these lunatics?

    Secondly, I think the things I’ve listed is a social disease that is present no matter WHAT alternative you choose.

    It seems the internet, sitting behind a keyboard facing a monitor, some how creates a neurological, psychological condition that prompts people to behave in ways, and say things much more readily and openly, with brashness, than they would even DARE if sitting face to face with someone.

    I’m quite sure it’s because the imminent danger of getting punched in the nose (or worse) is completely removed.

    THATS my two cents on the value of social networking.

    • http://5uperman.com Dave

      Unfortunately, your group of lunatic friends pretty much sums up the world. Although not all are lunatics, the internet provides them with a platform to spout their uneducated and ignorant views to the masses, while hiding behind the anonymity of the internet and facebook.
      I have deleted friends who send everyone scriptures etc. I own a bible, if I want to waste my time reading religious text, I would do so when I chose to do so.

  • http://www.peopleandcontacts.com advisers

    An alternative to any social network including facebook is comming soon:

    http://www.peopleandcontacts.com

    where You and Your privacy are respected.

  • Peter T Hooper

    What is needed, Facebook “marketshare dominance” or not, is for the people bothered by FB privacy invasion issues, (or Mark Z’s quirkly double standard, or the effect of FB’s standardization of electronic social networking, or even, out of objection to the entire commoditization of friendship and natural human social networks) to intentionally leave FB behind for any number of possible alternatives.

    It makes no sense to go along simply because FB is big and it is there, as it tries to take over the internet and remold it in its own image.

    I’m movin’ on. Why don’t you join me?

  • Sam

    The one that me and my friends discovered is fuzzyorb.
    been using it for a year now – its simple but it does what we want.

  • http://www.zuppon.com John McCarthy

    Another alternative to Facebook is http://www.zuppon.com

    Great features with location based feeds

  • http://sistemas.martinvaresio.com.ar mvs

    I have deleted friends who send everyone scriptures etc.!

  • http://www.yourdigitalspace.com Swamykant

    I am love facebook and incase of alternative – ORKUT is the best.

  • http://www.bounks.com Brian Meed

    A good alternative that I’ve been trying out is http://www.bounks.com It has the familiar feel of facebook with features such video chat, video sharing, blogging etc. All in all its a very clean and easy interface.

  • ERoark

    I just started using Enukee.com. I really enjoy the features it offers but like the others it is lacking the large amount of people. I will stick with it for a while as it is my favorite Facebook alternative. Now I just have to convince my friends to switch so I can close my FB account…haha

  • http://jackthedonkey.com david katz

    social network for good http://jackthedonkey.com – be social, discover new music…make change for the charity of your choice freely (we donate 1.1 cents every click to your choice of more than 20 charities from Canada, The US and UK).

  • Johnny Fishbone

    Has anyone had any comment on the coming Diaspora portal

  • alex

    real life is not an alternative for facebook… and will never be.

    Not quite good comparison or metaphor

  • http://www.amble.in Raj

    Hey I came across this social networking site amble.in looks good with better privacy control. They have something called beamers which is equivalent to what is now quite famously known as tweets. Friends can be organized into gangs & even though I haven’t used the super fast networking on steroids thing I think it might be cool. Looks like there are more things to explore in this site .I guess it is worth checking in.

  • http://www.blogurp.com Joey Haire

    I just made an alternative, blogurp.com. I am a real person, a musician, zaddick.com, and a web designer, zaddick.net, and I hate what facebook does. They made a page on their servers for one of my websites, hippienations.com, and refused me rights to it. Screw facebook, blogurp.com is ran by me and I try my best to keep it private to members who want to be private.

  • Chris Tucker

    I would highly suggest that anyone looking for a Facebook alternative take a look at Enukee and Diaspora. Personally I prefer http://www.enukee.com, but Diaspora is a front runner as well. Both of these websites are privacy based and offer some great features.

  • http://www.anybeat.com Brad

    I work on the team of recently launched Anybeat.com. Anybeat encourages community members to use a Pseudonym and uses a system of “cred” to eliminate trolls. Please stop by and check us out! :)

  • Tom Foxwell

    One I use is called Terfex terfex.net. It lets users decide how they want the social network to work and look.

  • http://talkic.com David Katz

    Feel free to check out http://talkic.com – social network for social change…where contributing to topics benefits causes…a social way to click for a cause…a topical way to make new connections with it’s musical sidekick http://TalkicMusic.com – promoting new music and the musicians who help drive change to the charities on Talkic. Thanks in advance.

  • Kim

    Forcebook (which is what I now refer to rather than Facebook) is doing just like Wal Mart. Come in simple, get everyone “hooked”, run every other similar type business out of commission, then grab you by the short hairs and force you to accept the way they do things or go away. But go away where? Millions of friends, families, and co-workers are feeling lost, a bit panicky, and desperate hoping that Facebook will change it’s mind about the new forced time-line, and the blatant abuse of trust with it’s privacy (or lack there-of) policy. People say “Hey…it’s free, and it belongs to them, so you pretty much have to accept it.” BULL… it may be a service they allow you to use, but it most certainly is NOT free. Just because it doesn’t cost money, doesn’t mean it’s not costing you in other ways.I know many, many people who are on facebook right now, asking me to find an alternative so they can follow me over and feel like they can retain a little dignity, privacy, and control over what’s being put out there when they log in. Facebook… hate to tell you, but you really screwed up by forcing this change on your users, without happy users, you have unhappy investors, and unhappy advertisers… and when you loose your true core (the users), everything else will fall away too. Re-think it guys… before it is too late to re-gain the trust of those you will loose.

  • http://www.odysen.com Matt

    I’d suggest to get a private network such as with Odysen, http://www.odysen.com. You control who’s in your network, you own your content, simple and hassle free communication and collaboration.

  • pete

    Where’s the link for real life? Is it a free download?

  • Amjad Ali

    I am trying to make an ID .

  • http://www.folkdirect.com James Thornton

    How about http://folkdirect.com – I’ve been on there two years. Secure, fast, private. I just have my close friends and family on there… keep things simple :)

  • airen menopio

    I am love facebook and incase of alternative – FRIENDSTER is the best.

  • jo

    I’ve been on fb for years and am closing my account due to people posting sick images and videos. I’m going to try the alternatives and hope i can convince my friends to follow suit in the meantime is there any way to delete the account? I understand just deactivating it will mean all the information is still there!

  • DND

    Sadly Friendster is no longer it is not a social network which was actually fun.
    it is now for games only

  • suresh
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