In recent years, the fervor around public social media platforms has started to wane, or at least level off. At the same time, the popularity of smaller, well-defined networks has increased as users search for more privacy and an opportunity to curate closer connections with their loved ones.

At first glance, virtual micro-networks bear resemblance to other social titans, such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. They allow you to post updates, share content, and message your connections. However, these interactions are restricted to the members of your group, over which you have more control. Rather than building an extensive, vague network, these platforms give you the opportunity to occupy a smaller virtual space only inhabited by other users who share a common interest.

According to an MIT Technology Review article on why private micro-networks could be the future of how we connect, the purpose of such platforms is not to amass likes or cultivate your online presence. Rather, it’s about “being your true self with just a select few people.” They offer a welcome respite from the noisy, impersonal nature of broad social media platforms.

Citing Kate Eichhorn, an associate professor of culture and media at the New School and author of “The End of Forgetting: Growing Up With Social Media,” this second wave of post-Facebook social media—which she calls micro-networks—is natural considering the past decade’s data missteps.

“In the tech world, people crash and burn quickly, but the idea of these controlled micro-communities is something that will persist,” Eichhorn states in the article.

Why Are People Drawn to Private Social Networks?

Facebook—and Instagram by association—has undergone fire recently for how it handles content and invasion of privacy. This is one of the most notable advantages of private social networks.

Many come accompanied by a promise to not sell your private information to a third party. Additionally, everything you post to the network stays within the small, designated group of coworkers, association members, parents of other students, or friends and family members you’ve selected to include. You don’t have to worry about a stranger or acquaintance seeing your post because a family member “liked” it.

This is especially important when it comes to minors. Understandably, many people are hesitant to share information or photos of their children on social media. At the same time, they want a convenient way to share the content with close family members or friends. Private social networks are the ideal solution to this problem.

Fewer Ads, More Connection

Recent data from various sources shows younger generations—or individuals 12 to 34 years old—are not engaging with social media in the same manner as previous years. According to an article for the Harvard Business Review, findings from Edison Research and Triton Digital in 2019 and Global Web Index indicate social media usage of millennials and Gen Z audiences across various platforms is either waning or has leveled off. As the article explains, this demographic of users is “saying that after years spent constructing carefully curated online identities and accumulating heaps of online ‘friends,’ they want to be themselves and make real friends based on shared interests.” On top of that, the article states, younger users are “also craving privacy, safety, and a respite from the throngs of people on social platforms.” On the flip side, private and interactive social spaces—which the article dubs “digital campfires”—offer “a more intimate oasis where smaller groups of people are excited to gather around shared interests.”

Within these secure, private micro-communities, such as Go2s, you have more direct contact with the people who matter most in your personal and professional life, which means you get a greater amount of what you actually want: bonding over shared experiences, private messaging, and feeling a real, viable connection to what’s happening on the social network. You can chat with other users directly, or upload photos, videos and links that are accessible to the whole group.

Finally, while private social networks give you more virtual connection with the people you care about, they also give you less of what you don’t want: irrelevant posts and ads. Logging into the network is liking walking into a room filled with people you want to see, rather than being bombarded with unwelcome guests and strangers.

A New Social Network for Your Community

Go2s, a free community app that supports effective, private communication, includes many of the features that separate private social networks from public social media. Developed on the belief you should be able to maintain control over your privacy and data, Go2s enables you to start building a real online community with people you care about.