November 22, 2011
Anybeat, a discussion-based social network founded by former MySpace Music CTO Dmitry Shapiro, launched yesterday out of beta.
Previously called Altly, which we covered in June, the site received $1 million in seed funding led by Freestyle Capital and with participation from MySpace founder Tom Anderson.
Anybeat lets you browse people by filters like interest, location, or even favorite book; chat in real-time; and join multimedia discussion forums. It also has traditional social networking features, such as posts, a newsfeed, followers, messages, @mentions, and groups.
But the Los Angeles-based startup wants to differentiate itself as a “third place”:
Social scientists tell us that humans need three places to live happy and fulfilling lives.
1. Home : A place where we live and have family/friends relations.
2. Work : A place where we work.
3. Third Place : A place to get away from the first two, relax, socialize. (Coffee shops and local pubs often serve as third places.)
Facebook serves as our digital home, while LinkedIn serves as our digital workplace. Anybeat aims to be our digital ‘third place.’
The way it differentiates itself – at least from Facebook and Google Plus – is to allow and encourage the use of pseudonyms, which presumably make users more free in their conversations. To compensate for the move toward anonymity, Anybeat awards “Cred” based on how active you are and how much others interact with you.
Anybeat claims they don’t want to replace Facebook or Twitter, but they will still have to compete for eyeballs with secondary social media sites like Instagram and Foursquare, which have captured our collective attention. And this won’t be easy: while Anybeat has recruited enough users during beta to keep the site from looking barren, I don’t see a clear mechanism for going viral except the traditional method of inviting friends.
Going forward, Anybeat’s emphasis on conversations and discussion – a component of social networking that seems to get lost in the sometimes-narcissistic broadcasting on sites like Facebook and Twitter – may be its biggest advantage.
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