5 Apps Disrupting the Social-Networking Scene

These emerging options can help users make meaningful connections offline, express themselves through visual media or simply host real-time chats with groups of friends when you can't get together in person.

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By Pratik Dholakiya

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Move along Facebook, make way Snapchat: New apps in the social-networking space are attracting young people who aren't having as much fun as they used to on Instagram and other popular platforms. From finding friends with shared interests to spotting local events, these apps bring something new to an already crowded scene.

Many of these apps are created by millennials -- that group so dear to marketers. They're taking their first steps in business on the back of some impressive technology and refined user experience. Here's a closer look at five new platforms making some serious noise.

1. Peach.

Created by Dom Hoffman, cofounder of the hugely popular Vine, Peach combines all the good features of popular social platforms like Facebook, Path, Snapchat, Slack and Tumblr. The result could well become a force to reckon with. Its "magic words" allow you to find a gif that suits your mood, tag to your current location, help you draw on a blank canvas, identify a song, give others access to your calendar and a lot more.

Peach is private, so only "friends" can see your posts and profile. There's no such things as followers. That makes it pretty symmetrical. It's a sort of a walled garden, wherein everything is contained within the app itself. Currently, Peach is available only on iOS.

Related: Top 20 Social-Media Tools to Add to Your Arsenal in 2016

2. Buddypass.

Buddypass makes socializing more personal by featuring and recommending nearby "friends" who share your passions and interests. You can search to find new connections -- including experiences that exist outside the digital world. The app helps you find groups and events based on your interests. That can be particularly useful for millennials who relocate frequently for work and uproot themselves in search of new neighborhoods.

Buddypass also has the potential to link you to new hobbies and create groups of friends interested in getting together offline. Buddypass is available on iOS and Android.

Related: 5 Questions That Reveal the Personality of Someone You've Just Met

3. Vine Sound Touch.

This isn't your traditional social networking app. Vine Sound Touch (VST) can help Vine fans have more fun with a sound board as an add-on. The app features hundreds of Vine sounds, voices and videos for hours of enjoyment.

The options are up to you. You can customize sounds to use them as ringtones, dub them over existing videos and share them with friends over social media, text or emails.

VST also allows you to create your own sounds and voices and submit them to the collection. All sounds and voices are HD quality. The app is available on iTunes.

4. Airtime.

With Airtime, you can initiate a live video chat with up to five friends, all while sharing videos and listening to music during the chat. Do you have something to say or show? Pull up your favorite buddies, host a chat and show them what you've been up to.

Airtime is created by Sean Park, cofounder of Napster. It is available on both iOS and Android.

5. Bubbly.

Bubbly describes itself as "Twitter and Instagram for your voice." Users create voice recordings and share them with friends and followers.

With a single tap, you can record your voice and then add audio effects to the recording. Tag a photo and share the clip via email, Twitter, Facebook or on your personal blog. Bubbly's search function returns voice-talent results from around the world, including actors, singers, musicians and comedians. Why read a tweet from your favorite celebrity when you can hear him or her speak the words instead?

In fact, more than 1,000 popular celebrities across Asia and the United Kingdom already are part of Bubbly. Fans can connect with them and follow the personalities they choose, listening to a familiar voice as celebs go through their jet-set days. Bubbly is available on iOS and Android.

Related: Snapchat's Spectacles: Not Just for Millennials

Each app featured here is a new twist on an existing social network. Their success will depend on how willing users are to adapt and accept them. Hundreds of social-networking apps jostle for attention on app stores, but every now an app seems to challenge the status quo. Snapchat might have been the last social network to attract millions to an entirely unique platform. But the current crop of exciting apps is set to raise the social-networking bar with cool features that speak to different segments of users.
Pratik Dholakiya

Founder of Growfusely

Pratik Dholakiya is the founder of Growfusely, a content marketing agency specializing in content and data-driven SEO.

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