A group of new social media applications are focused on letting you share -- but with a closed circle of friends.
Apps like Path, GroupMe, Fast Society and ChattrSpace are focused on letting you share and communicate quickly and easily to a predefined group of people.
Surely one reason for the influx of these sites is practical in nature. It's tough to impossible to target across sites like Twitter and Facebook. But until these apps launched, "walled gardens" were considered a negative. Lightweight user actions like OAuth have evolved to make it simple for users to register at a site or risk not building a user base.
But I think privacy is the bigger driving factor. Facebook is messy when it comes to professional and personal boundaries. Some folks are ok with these two worlds mixing. Others, understandably, are not.
I often tell people the best, if not only, way to keep something private is to keep it offline all together. Terms of service change. Privacy settings change. Users need to take personal accountability for their privacy. How many of us do? And even if someone rethinks something they've put online and pulls it down before Google sees it, sites like Lamebook are examples of the power and permanence of the screen grab.
These apps offer a helpful option for keeping parts of your online life compartmentalized. And they may signal a new trend of more selective sharing. Even niche geo-location apps offer selective sharing capabilities.
Face2Face differentiates itself by only sharing your information and location with friends in the general proximity you're in as opposed to all of your friends. And it won't pinpoint your location to these friends, noting you're on 5th and Vine instead of at Tazza Mia. Selective sharing gives you an added layer of targeting and choice that is achievable to a lesser degree on sites like Twitter and Facebook, these features are opposite of their primary goal.
These apps may seem anti-social in comparison to the sites we focus on today. But they're a necessary response to privacy concerns and they will surely help more users migrate to social media.
Internet vs Privacy - A Helpful Venn Diagram uploaded by Dave Makes
Cross-Posted to my work blog, Social Study