It seems like every other day there is a new social network or dating site popping up online, each with their own set of unique criteria. There’s Netropolitan, which bills itself as the “Facebook for the rich” and costs $9,000 to join, plus an extra $3,000 per year. There’s Uniform Dating, which aims to set up people in uniform with people who fancy people in uniform. And now there’s Bristlr, the “social beard network”.
I’m sure I’m not the first one to say this, but I think things are starting to get pretty out of hand.
Now I have a beard and I’m pretty damn proud of it, but I can’t see me signing up to this if I’m being honest. I just don’t want yet another social network to have to think about, I’m already on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Vine, etc. I guess you’ll probably get some beard fanatics signing up, along with people who have beards of their own. Even after all that talk a few months back about how as a society we’d reached “peak beard”, it seems that some people still like a bit of facial fuzz. Take that, science!
To be honest though, there’s not all that much to talk about when it comes to beards. Yes, they keep your face warm during winter. Yes, they’re fun to stroke while you’re pondering something. Yes, you can hold pens in there. But once you get past that, it’s just hair. The main reason I grew mine initially was sheer laziness. Shaving is a pain and a bore, so I started leaving longer and longer between shaves, and hey presto, beard.
Back to Bristlr, anyway.
Why do people constantly feel the need to set up new social networks that basically do the same thing. As much as people complain and freak out whenever Facebook changes the tiniest thing, none of us are in any rush to actually leave the site. Firstly, because there is nothing out there to really match it, and secondly because Facebook is already so established, why would we bother going elsewhere? You’re not going to spend years creating your profile, growing your list of friends and posting all sorts of photos and videos on there, just to jump ship when a shiny new offering comes along.
All of these new sites seem to grow in membership fairly quickly, and get a bit of publicity, but then one by one they all fade into obscurity. They may have different criteria and be more “exclusive”, but they’re all just trying to be Facebook. Social networks like Instagram and Vine succeeded because they offered something different, rather than just trying to emulate the success of Facebook.
Who knows, maybe Bristlr will be the next big thing. Or maybe people will all suddenly decide to shave off their beards and someone will make a social network for people without beards. Only time will tell…