Sometimes, trying to keep up with friends is the last thing you want to do. Amid a barrage of status updates, friend requests and “Likes,” social media can seem like a chore.
Startups are listening. More companies are now offering what might be called “anti-social” networks. Many offer social interaction, but with boundaries that they would argue make it both more manageable and lead to a richer experience. Inspired by older platforms like Diaspora and Chatroulette, these websites do everything from enforce strictly private groups, to operate solely on anonymity, to even encourage you to avoid people altogether.
Here are six networks to consider when you’re tired of being social:
Path: This upstart social network has had great influence on the design and feature set of other social networks, and it’s built on the idea that people love to be anti-social. Instead of constantly interacting with the broader world, users on Path can have private, one-on-one conversations. In short, it makes it easy to avoid speaking with people you don’t want to speak with, and focus on those with you do want to converse.
Rando: Instagram is great, but the social aspect of it is just as important as the photos. Artistes may take a shine to Rando, which launched in March and rewards users for “gifting” photographs of their surroundings with an equally random photograph taken from another user. There’s no comments or reactions tied to the sharing, just a piece of art and the location where it was taken.
Nextt: Nextt is a social network that cuts out the internet. It encourages users to meet up with each other in real life and stop staring at a monitor. The private networking platform, which recently raised $700,000 in seed funding, will help connect small groups and bring them together around activities, rather than rewarding users for remaining online.
Social Number: Launched in December, Social Number is a network that allows users to freely interact and ask questions without the repercussions of social search. This is achieved by giving users the opportunity to create their own number, which will be their identifier. Users can say whatever they want without fear of being found or scoped out by employers.
Duvamis: Set to go live on Tuesday, Duvamis is a social network that tries to cut out “influencers” and encourage free speech by fostering discussion in a completely anonymous and private social network. The “complete freedom” and lack of image concept is meant to help figure out what users truly love, and it reinforces that by eliminating cookies and not serving targeted ads.
Hell Is Other People: Piggybacking on Foursquare’s API, Hell Is Other People helps users remain completely anti-social by monitoring when friends have checked into nearby places and calculating areas that are deemed “safe” from interaction. Presumably to avoid the monumentally awkward run-in with friends, Hell Is Other People is one of the most misanthropic and practically useful tools out right now.