AnyBeat Puts a New Spin on Social Networking

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It's hard to think about social media and not think of Facebook. The social giant is the dominant player in the space and, essentially, serves as the standard that other social networks are based on. For this reason, it's only natural that people assume any new social network has hopes of being a "Facebook killer."

However, this is not the case with new social network AnyBeat. According to Dmitry Shapiro, the network's CEO and founder, AnyBeat has no intention of killing Facebook.

"AnyBeat is not meant to be a Facebook killer," he said. "I don't expect anyone is gonna be killing Facebook in the near future."

The former Myspace exec who is also known for founding Veoh went on to say that, for him, Facebook is the most important tool on the Web. In spite of this, he believes that some users want more than what Facebook has to offer and, as a result, created Anybeat.

Does Facebook satisfy all your social networking needs? Let us know.

AnyBeat is intended to be a "public gathering place" that connects people that don't already know each other. As Shapiro explained, the service was initially known as Altly but was changed to AnyBeat to better describe the true meaning behind the platform. He told us that the inspiration for the name came from Henry David Thoreau in Walden when he said:

"If a man loses pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer."

The idea is that, with the overwhelming "common drum" beat on most social networking sites, users cannot hear their own drum beat even when they want to. He hopes that AnyBeat will become a place for users to discover their own voice.

"The goal of AnyBeat is to augment Facebook," said Shapiro.

He told us that Google successfully created an alternative to Facebook with Google+. By "alternative," he means that Google+ users have to use their identity to log on to the service, just like Facebook users do. He also said that Google+ users are primarily connected to the same network that they are connected to on Facebook.

With AnyBeat, Shapiro wants to create a very different experience. He wants to reach the audience that is tired of their circle of friends constantly talking about the same topics. AnyBeat believes it can reach this audience and create this experience by allowing pseudonyms, introducing users to new people, and not trying to be the global identity of users.

Shapiro thinks that by giving people the right to use pseudonyms, they will have more freedom to speak their mind even about controversial issues such as politics and religion.

"When you're forced to use your real name it really restricts you from communicating," he said.

By allowing for pseudonyms, he thinks people will be more open to reaching out of their regular network in order to connect with new people.

AnyBeat also creates a different social networking experience since it has no plans of becoming a global identity for users. While some users enjoy the convenience of having one log-in for multiple services, others want to have private conversations that are not archived.

"Today, we're living in a world where Facebook and Google are really fighting a battle of 'who's gonna be our Internet driver's license,'" said Shapiro.

"AnyBeat does not want to be, nor will it ever be - mark my words - your identity provider to the Web," he continued. "That is not our goal and will never be our goal."

At this point, the service is in private beta but is expected to launch publicly in the coming weeks.

Is AnyBeat the type of social networking experience you're looking for?

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