Social Networks For Families: A Look At Imlee

Everyone likes social networking inherently. However, when a single social network starts getting bigger and more connected, some users may not like it. Facebook has grown really big and every other day you realize that you know a lot of people across colleges, countries and friend circles. But what if you don’t really want to know all that? What if you are just content with connecting with people with similar interests rather than a blanket list of people. Niche social networks work because of this reason – the clutter of relationships in a huge social herd can be disconcerting to many.  Even before social networking was a ‘thing’, there were blogs, forums and bulletin boards for those who had common interests and goals, so the idea is not really a breakthrough one but something that is becoming more relevant in the days to come.

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Social networking among members of your family has always been an awkward affair on Facebook or any other social medium. You feel a little weird adding your parents and relatives as ‘friends’ on Facebook. Weirder is the feeling when they comment on your updates and like your ‘cool’ photos. The generation gap makes it problematic to truly connect with your family online. Although, Facebook has privacy settings which allow you to filter out the content and fix a interaction level with your family members, it is far from ideal. Thus, a standalone social network for your family makes sense. With this you don’t need to worry about data being viewed outside of your family. When I say family, I am really talking about the big family and not the nuclear one. Family trees are huge by design and if you can get all the branches of your family to get onto a network, it would make a lot of things simpler. You could connect to all these people who are at the risk of becoming strangers because of geographical boundaries. Keeping in touch, sharing images, planning get-togethers are some of the things that can get the whole family to know each other again.

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Recently, I came across a family oriented social network called ‘Imlee’ (Indian for Tamarind) which has been built with this sole purpose in mind. Their tagline asks you to ‘Discover new relatives’ and this is indeed possible with tools like that. Imlee is the first product coming out of the stables of Pebstone, an incubator set up by Aatish Dedhia of Zycus. With increasing Internet usage in India, it is safe to say that the product will find a market, although I am sure that it won’t be as massive as the other social networks out there. Imlee was launched last year in February and currently has  around 30,000 unique visitors per month and 2 lakh pageviews. The average time spent is around 4 mins. The traction may not be one of the best but it is good to see that it is picking up. Getting traction for a family oriented web service can be very challenging as opposed to a teenager focused service. This is primarily due to the low usage of Internet among people of the older generation. Hence, getting a userbase of 34k is a commendable achievement by Imlee.

Imlee provides some rather useful features for families. It has family trees which give you an exact idea of your relation to say, a far off cousin. Family trees are also awesome because it is an interesting experience to watch them grow. The degrees of separation are reduced and you get a better overall picture of your clan. The biggest family tree on Imlee has around 3000 members! Families evolve, different branches merge and sometimes they decimate and all this can be captured on Imlee.

Besides this you have the usual social networking stuff like profiles, albums, statistics etc. Another interesting feature here is the Family Diary which works like a Calendar app. You can view all the important dates and information in a single page. The service also sends you reminders on your mobile phone. Definitely a cool feature!

Even though Imlee is the first family social networking offering in India, the idea is by no means unique. There are online family networks out there like SocialParent and Save The Mom and I sure that we will see many more niche networks popping up and catering to the various interests that people have.

I liked the concept and implementation of Imlee and I believe there are many more cool features that they can implement eg. a mobile app. If you have a big family spread out across the globe/country, this tool will definitely help you guys connect better.

If you want more information about the workings of Imlee,  I suggest you go through Lighthouse Insight’s review.

Website | Imlee

Top Image Source | Shutterstock

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