Although Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and YouTube are today’s major social network sites, they are not the only ones worth talking about. And with 2011 quickly coming to an end, we thought we’d take this opportunity to give you a run down of some of the newest social networks creating an online buzz.

2011 Social Media Roundup
Google+: The most talked about social network launch of 2011 (including our own blog post about it), Google+ suggested it could indeed become Facebook’s biggest rival.  Its video chat functionality, the ability to control content sent out to circles of friends, and its integration with Google had people rushing to get invitations. Similar to a “Like” button, Google+ has a +1 button that allows people to recommend websites. These recommendations then appear in friends’ search results, however at the moment that is the extent of its impact on search ranking. Although the frenzy has died down since its launch, it will be interesting to see what happens once brands are allowed on and how Google may further integrate it into search rankings.

Chime.in: Launched in October, Chime.in focuses on member interests and allows them to determine what content they receive from others.  Similar to other networks, there is a newsfeed and profile pages, however there are a few differences too. Rather than status updates, members post “chimes” which can be up to 4,000 words and include multimedia and tags. Members can follow individual tags to find content they are interested in, from both the public and their friends. So rather than have your newsfeed inundated with posts, you’ll only get the ones that interest you.
Another unique function in this social network is their approach to advertising. Members are given a choice of whether or not advertising will appear on their profile. If they choose to allow companies to use their space to advertise, they will receive 50% of the advertising revenue. Members can also create their own ads for their page and keep 100% of the revenue. This not only gives users control of their profile, but it will also allow brands to have more control over their pages and their advertising.

Unthink: Claiming to be an “anti-Facebook” social network that offers users freedom and security online, Unthink was launched in November. The site is similar in functionality to Facebook and Google+ but promises members that their information will not be stored for advertising purposes.  Additionally, unlike other social networks, Unthink’s default settings are set to private.  Unthink also promises people ownership of their own space, so, users own the content they create.  In terms of advertising, users can either choose to pay $2 a month to opt out of advertising, or they may select a sponsor for their profile.
Whether Unthink will topple Facebook remains to be seen, but its revolutionary spirit has attracted attention and membership and that’s got us talking.

Diaspora: Launched earlier this year, Diaspora is an open-source community of social networks that also sought to be the anti-Facebook, promising users complete ownership of their content, the ability to use a pseudonym, and all the functionality of Google+ content management. Additionally, much like Twitter, Diaspora has searchable hashtags that can be used to label a post or an entire profile.  Rather than have a centralized architecture, Diaspora members can create their own social network, which can then be linked to the larger Diaspora system. The social network was developed by four members of Kick Starter and is definitely one to watch.

Posterous:  Okay, technically Posterous has been around as a blogging platform since 2008, but 2011 saw the launch of Posterous Spaces which turned the site into a social network. Like before, Posterous members are still able to share photos, videos, and blog posts, but the new platform allows them to create “spaces” where the member can group their followers to determine what content they see.  Each space can have a different template or theme, allowing members to create separate blogs that they can share with their different followers.  Spaces can also be made public and posts can be shared with people both on and off the network.

One interesting site that is currently in the works is a Manchester United social network, targeted towards the football team’s 660 million global fans. It isn’t the site that has gotten our attention, but rather the idea of social networks created for a brand. Will this become a new trend? We can only wait and see, but we think it’s worth a note.

While there are countless other social networking sites that were released this year, these are just a few of the ones that have gotten our attention (as well as the rest of the tech industry).  Let us know your thoughts on them and if you’ve got any other sites to add to the list.