There seems to be a social network for everything nowadays. A buzz term that has almost become cliché is ‘social graph’, meaning the type of connections you have. Some are very open, like Twitter where anyone can connect. Some are more closed like Facebook, which is made up of just friends and friends of friends. Some are very closed and based on strong relationships like Path or even more so with Pair for couples. Some are interest based, like Douban, where users group around music, movies and film. Nearly any real world relationship type can be moulded into a mobile app or online social network.
Claiming to be the ‘first global social group in China’ that supports multi-language for foreigners and local Chinese, Freebao+ (FB+) is the latest SNS to pop up. The name in itself makes me think they are trying to be a mix between Facebook and Google+, perhaps a smart marketing tactic.
Looking at the site, I’m not quite sure what to make of it yet. It seems to be an obvious mash up of different existing sites. The home page looks like a Twitter or Weibo news feed. The main difference is in the ability to divide messages into groups like family, work, following. It is also possible to filter below that into media types like pictures, images and music. Similar to Google+ Circles, FB+ also has a circle grouping feature to put people into different buckets like Family, Work, Following or you can make one up. Like Facebook Credits that allow you to buy things or play games, Freebao also has FB Credits but I am unsure what you can actually do with it.
So although it just launched publicly, it seems some users are already interacting on it. Being a mixture of Chinese and foreign users, everything is in English. Some users ask the community for help on what a good restaurant is in Hangzhou, another asks what the best Chinese jokes are, another asks what mountain in China is a must visit. A post by Freebao themselves claims that they added 200 more users over the May Labor Day holidays, including foreigners from America, UK and Singapore.
I think the goal of connecting foreigners and locals in China are admirable. As more and more foreigners come to China, they are looking for a channel to connect with locals and a way to exchange ideas or ask questions. Fair enough it is only early days so far for the new SNS startup, but I feel like they are trying to do too much by trying to fit Twitter, Facebook, Google+ into one thing.