If there is a theme emerging among new social startups, it is layering an interest graph on top of people’s social connections (aka, the social graph). Bill Gross’s new product Chime.in is all about filtering your stream by interest. Sean Parker’s new still=stealthy startup Airtime will also, I suspect, be organized around interests. The first person I ran into at the Web 2.0 Summit, Dmitry Shapiro, is also working on a social network based around interests. Shapiro, who was the founder of Veoh and did a stint as CTO of MySpace Music, gave me a brief demo of his new social network, AnyBeat in the video above.
Anybeat is a social network designed to help you meet new people, as opposed to Facebook which is more about interacting with people you already know. It is based around interests which you can follow. There is also a realtime chat component where you can see everyone else who is online and interested in the same things, as well as a Q&A database organized around interests. You can sign in with your Facebook ID, or take on a pseudonym. Sometimes pseudonyms can help you express who you really are. “Facebook is not a place where you go to have open conversations,” says Shapiro.
Do we really need a new social network? I am not sure. But Anybeat is exploring some interesting new areas in social networks. The amazing thing about Anybeat is that it was built by three engineers. And this is the second version of the product. the first one was organized around different circles of friends, but then Google+ came out. It is still in private beta, but I have 1,000 invites which you can sign up for here.