Even though social networks like Facebook are opening up their door to the general public, there are a hand full of social networks that are doing the opposite and are closing the doors to the general public. In an article found on businessweek.com, three “gated” sites are discussed that are going against the open social networking trend and have strict membership requirements to join. As stated in the article, “the scene [the “gated” sites] is more velvet-roped club, not open-mic night.”
Reuters Space is a private site that allows fund managers, traders, and analysts to network. Every member has their own feed and profile page (a personal blog) which allows them to receive news from Reuters about their field and to network with colleagues and other industry workers. Reuters has their own data in place that verifies the employment status of the applicants and then determines who can join.
INmobile.org is a network specifically for executives that are in the wireless industry. You must be a director at a large company, a vice-president at a mid-size company, or in the C-suite of a start-up company in order to join the network. There are currently more than 900 executive members on INmobile. Members include Verizon Wireless executives, handset makers of Nokia, co-founders of the New York mobile-games Cellfun and content providers from Walt Disney.
Diamond Lounge is an invite-only social/business network that just launched this month. The selection committee of the network has already invited 100 people to join, but they have received more than 7,000 applications. Members actually have to pay a monthly fee of $60 to be a part of this elite social network. Members are able to keep a social profile in “the Lounge” and a business profile in “the boardroom.” Members can even set their privacy settings based on physical traits of other members. Instead of exchanging trivial Facebook gifts like a cute teddy bear or a fiesta hat, members of the Diamond Lounge exchange real gifts like designer purses and tickets to a big event.
When I first read this article I disagreed with the idea of closed social networks, but then it began to grow on me. Similar to GodTube, sites are taking the basic principles of open social networks such as Myspace and YouTube and are catering it to a targeted audience. Large social networks can be overwhelming and the purpose of the network can be lost in the mist of the chaos. These elite “gated” sites might seem trivial and over zealous at first, but they carry the same basic principals as other organizations such as PRSA. You have to fill out an application and pay yearly dues in order to be a member. Although, the Diamond Lounge seems to be mixture of both a Myspace and a business networking group, but for the rich that have a lot of stinking money.