Social networking apps – Alternatives to Facebook and Twitter

There are currently around 1.11 billion Facebook users and 500 million Twitter users, so it comes as no surprise that a number of alternative social networking apps are also becoming very popular, as users look for the most efficient ways to get their social updates on the go.

With the latest mobile phone deals frequently offering handsets with certain social networking apps already pre-loaded on to the device, it’s never been easier to access social updates and news feeds, as well as sharing photos and videos with your own social communities.

Facebook and Twitter are without doubt the reigning social networks, but there are a range of other apps available, which are quickly gaining a substantial cult following and as a result are starting to make their way to the top spot to try and gain the title as the most popular social network.

Created by the makers of Twitter, video app Vine may have only launched in January, but in less than three months it has already topped the list of free iOS apps.


Users are able to ‘see and share life in motion’ by capturing a number of film frames, which are looped into a short 6-second video. These are then shared via Twitter or by the app itself, which also lets users search by topic and explore other users’ videos. Dubbed as the ‘instagram of Twitter’ due to its artistic ability in capturing spontaneous moments, a report by Topsy Analytics showed that the five-month old app has seen huge growth since its launch, recording 2.86 million shares on 8 June alone.

This latest surge in Vine’s popularity came after Twitter released the Android version of the app on 4 June, which opened up the app’s availability to owners of other handsets like the Galaxy S4 and Sony Xperia Z, as well as iOS devices.

Launched two years ago, Snapchat has seen a meteoric rise in popularity. Allowing users to send real-time picture messages, which automatically disappear after a maximum of 10 seconds, the app has become somewhat of a sensation amongst users.

Photos and videos can be edited by the user with the option to add text or drawings before sending them to a controlled list of recipients. A time limit for how long the image can be viewed for before automatically deleting itself can also be set, although a slight flaw is that those who receive them can take screenshots of the video clip.

Free on Android and iOS devices, Snapchat, which was founded by four Stanford University students, has since seen more than 150 million images uploaded each day since its release, with the app gaining an overall value of between $60m and $70m.

Starting out with limited check-in availability to only 100 worldwide metro areas when it launched in 2009, FourSquare has since evolved into a discovery engine, mixing in a social aspect to the local search.


The free location-based app tells you what is nearby based on other users’ recommendations, and then you can potentially earn points for the number of places that you check-in at. There is also the option to leave tips for other users, which serve as suggestions for things to do at that location, with the app becoming more personalised the more it is used.

Available on all smartphones running Android, BlackBerry 10, iOS or Windows Phone OS, FourSquare gives directions, opening times, menus and photos to help decide on a destination.

A loyal user base has seen the app reach the 33 million download mark with an all-time 3.5 billion check-ins logged and 30 million tips left since its launch. There are also 1.3 million business pages signed up to FourSquare, with the likes of Starbucks notching up 1.4 million likes, and Atlanta Internal Airport gaining the most check-ins at over one million.

So, if checking your Facebook and Twitter feeds doesn’t quite give you the social buzz it used to, update your apps folder with these innovative downloads and get involved in a new networking community.

OSM would like to say a big thank you to Stefanie Keeling for writing this article of Phones 4u - home of the best smartphone contracts and deals.

Social networking apps – Alternatives to Facebook and Twitter