Social Network for free

by Bitoyo Yo bitoyo travel

We've all seen (and some of us have been) that person on Facebook — the over-sharer. Some of us may be happy to divulge every intimate detail of our personal lives; others are more private.

Social networks for families (FamilyLeafMyFamily.comRootsyOrigami), neighbors (Nextdoor), and select groups of family and friends (Path), have bloomed in the past few years. A growing number of us, it seems, want a more intimate online sharing experience.

On FamilyLeaf, as with other social sites meant for small groups, users can share photos and messages with their connections on a secure network.

"Many of our most active users are turned off by Facebook's openness — and they use FamilyLeaf because it's meant only for family," Co-founder Ajay Mehta says.

Connecting to family on Facebook results in limited sharing between family members, however. The presence of younger members limit what their relatives can see. "There's a disconnect," says Mehta. "Older members of the family create Facebook accounts just for family members, but they can't understand the complexities, while younger people tend to restrict their family members' access to their Facebook, even if they accept them as 'friends' in the first place.

"The kind of content users share on both services is simply different, and users love FamilyLeaf because we all have memories, photo albums, and conversations that are meant to stay within the family."

The cofounder of FamilyLeaf, Wesley Zhao, says sites like this are important to his family relationship since Facebook is blocked in his native China. With FamilyLeaf, for the first time in years, his family in China were able to see updates and photos from his American branch of his family.

Other users tell Mashable they use the site for keeping in touch with ill loved ones, or sharing photos of children with extended family members, or sharing photos of special occasions with only a select group.

One FamilyLeaf user from Brazil said they used the site to share their six-year struggle of trying to get pregnant — and, ultimately, the news when they got pregnant. "We like that the site is private, and we can share what we want to without the fear of others seeing and judging." 

Keeping your close friends and family privy to your personal information isn't just for modesty and privacy's sake — it can be to protect your safety, too. There have been cases of burglaryafter people have overshared what goods they have in their homes on Facebook.

Are you a member of a small or niche social site? Why did you join? Tell us in the comments.

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