Mightybell and Self-Help Sites Like The Fancy Are the Future of Social Networking

One of the best social networks you probably haven’t heard of yet is Mightybell, a new network launched by Ning co-founder Gina Bianchini. The site is geared toward the self-improvement and lifelong learner crowds. Social networks that get users to take action are heating up, and Mightybell is leading the curve.

The site itself is pretty cool. The content is organized around the concept of experiences – achieving major goals is broken down into micro-experiences. Content is then served up over a period of several days in bite sized steps that you can execute and make progress toward each day. Topics the site tackles include everything from detoxing cleanses to the steps of business planning. Whether you’re craving new content in your business, spiritual, health, or artistic life, you’ll find it on this site.

Big media and investment players are taking notice. The site has gotten coverage in the Wall Street Journal, Venture Beat, and TechCrunch, along with mentions in mainstream media like USA Today.  Although it’s still in beta, I predict you’re going to hear more about Mightybell and similar sites in the months ahead.

Trends in social media come in waves; we’re still riding the shock and awe of the late 2011, early 2012 Pinterest explosion where users and marketers alike can’t seem to get enough of visual content curation platforms. A recent Pinterest profile change generated front page coverage the only way Facebook upgrades have to date. New experiments in social visual content curation are popping up everywhere.  Lately, I’m starting to hear a lot of good things about The Fancy.

But Mightybell and sites like it represent a natural evolution in the relationship of social media sites to our daily lives. Facebook allows us to create the ultimate intersection of our many lifestreams, keeping track of high school friends, colleagues, ex-lovers, gurus we follow, and third cousins twice removed all in one place. Twitter gives us a platform for 140 character sound bites, social commentary, and a big megaphone to share our every idea and provide us with instant feedback. But with our goal and self-improvement obsessed culture, it was only a matter of time before the networks started springing up that would actually help us achieve our goals.

So what can we expect from this cohort of sites? I expect a few different obvious productizations to start springing up (or coming forward into the mainstream from what to date have been niche communities).

1. Sites that allow us to learn new skills, languages, and existential theories: platforms designed to augment this by inviting content producers into our lives, inboxes, and social networks to guide us on those journeys.

2. Networks focused on creating tribes and communities around certain philosophical bents and the process of self-identifying and living those theories out in practice: I’m thinking more minimalism and those committed to living in the present, rather than Republicans and cat lovers.

3. Mass accountability projects: While sites like 43 Things have allowed us to make public declarations of our intentions, I fully expect someone to crack accountability on a bigger stage, and productize and scale the mastermind concept.

4. Virtual ashrams: Gurus and spiritual thought leaders are beginning to develop communities that are designed to pull you in, create carefully architected experiences, and guide your development through a charted course through a thinker’s body of work. Gabrielle Bernstein has the interesting beginnings of something like this at Her Future, and this feels like a potential goldmine.

5. Adventure: So many of us today are craving adventure, exceptionalism, and a way to escape the cubicle. This feels like a space that’s primed to develop social networks that introduce you to new experiences, orchestrate custom adventures, and connect users with other people living the dream.

The next 24 to 36 months prove to be an interesting time in the evolution of social networking.  Enterprising entrepreneurs have a chance to develop distinct value propositions for a population of users that want to move beyond lunch updates and political commentary, and bring their soul searching and real life adventures into their digital worlds.

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Liz Alton

Liz Alton is a writer, social media geek, and Boston resident. Visit her online at www.lizalton.com.

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