Two social networks have been quietly launched in Atlantic Canada already this year, and a third quasi-social-network is set to launch within a month.
In the up-and-running category, Equals6 and Bright Seeds are Halifax-based social networks targeting specific groups of young people, and both are scalable so they could expand outside the region. And by the time Halloween has come and gone, the Moncton Cyber Social is expected to have launched its social media site to complement its regular gatherings of techies.
Equals6, a site that connects students with prospective employers, has the most traction of this trio, already counting 5,000 students and 75 employers among its members. And it is adding 400 to 500 students and 20 employers monthly. It expects to crack the 10,000-student level by the end of the year.
"We’ve all seen the challenges students have in getting that entry level position,’’ Co-Founder Andy Osburn said as he sat in a coffee shop yesterday. "And for employers, it’s always hard to find just the right person. We saw a gap in the market.’’
Osburn and co-founder Mark Boyle have both taught university and launched the site in January as a means to solve these problems. They reasoned that there was no place on the Internet where students could network with prospective employers and other students, and where employers could get to know young people in a certain field before actually hiring someone.
Starting out with no members, the site established a base amid the university and college community of Halifax and slowly began to grow. It experienced strong growth recently in Ontario and, surprisingly, India (Osburn believes young Indians interested in studying in North America are using the site to learn more about the university climate and potential employers on this side of the world.) He foresees continued growth in large college communities like Toronto, Boston, Calgary and the San Francisco area.
Meanwhile, Bright Seeds launched last month as a social network for young entrepreneurs. Founder Benjamin Stawitz also believed Facebook and Linked In were not the right spaces for entrepreneurs to meet and discuss common problems, so he established a community where they could meet.
"There’s a lot of interest,’’ said Stawitz, a 24-year-old native of Germany now studying computer science at Nova Scotia Community College. "It’s difficult for entrepreneurs to meet each other because they keep to themselves and focus on their business.’’
Like Equals6, Stawitz believes Bright Seeds is scalable beyond Atlantic Canada once it reaches critical mass in the region.
In Moncton, a group of tech-heads is beavering away at creating a social network to complement the social gatherings they enjoy regularly under the name of Moncton Cyber Social. This is a group of ``people interested in meeting around the Moncton Tech community once a month, and we have speakers from that community talk about a specific aspect of tech, or business, to the members,’’ said organizer Simon Gauvin.
The Cyber Social group will use the site to post news and info about the events and allow members to communicate between meetings.