Tag: Association of Science-Technology Centers

Thinking about launching a new niche social network for a science or cultural community of professionals? Think again. It costs a lot to do well, and there’s a major risk of failure. People don’t have much time to spend logging into yet another social network, and it’s hard to reach a critical mass so that the site is interesting for people to use.

On the other hand, many niche communities still lack a good way to interact online. So there’s a potential need for new social networks.


Ravelry.com (for knitters and crocheters) is a fantastic example of a thriving niche social network. It has over 1.4 million members (and my wife loves it: she spends more time in there than on Twitter or Facebook). A recent article about Ravelry in Slate talks about how “social sites work better when they’re smaller and bespoke, created to cater to a specific group.” Members share photos and swap tips on their knitting projects. The site was started by a husband & wife team, and now has a 4-person staff. Revenue comes from their online store and advertisers. (more…)