Small World

small-world-1If the first and second generations of social networking portals were about opening up the world, the third generation is about closing it again. Invitation only sites are popping up everywhere, creating exclusive, gated virtual communities that shut out the “masses.”

A Small World
helped kick off the “invitation-only” trend by restricting new membership to and, where aspiring members must submit their resumes to be considered for acceptance. Other sites are blatantly and proudly parochial, such as, which is only for New Yorkers in-the-know.

If you were lucky enough to score an invitation to the Cannes Film Festival, you would also have gained access to the festival’s ‘private’ online portal,, created for attendees, a members only online club where one has to be invited to gain entry. In Europe offers a similar exclusive club concept for invited members only., a members-only portal for bankers who must be invited to The members-only site is for diplomats, members of IGOs and NGOs, foreign correspondents and other expatriates employed by multinational companies and their family invite-only community, where “forward thinking terrestrials exchange ideas and information about the state of the species, their planet and the universe.” Sounds like a blast. Where do we sign up?

In Asia, well heeled society-types and business movers and shakers can network at Wall Street types can commiserate the global financial meltdown with eachother in the privacy of cyberspace at

Global expats can catch up on local knowledge and network at

If you don’t bat for the “straight” team you can connect with other successful ‘power’ gays at

If bizarre beliefs are more your thing then you can try getting into the

American Express should jump into the fray here and create a network for people who use their “black” card.  Are businesses missing out by not creating exclusive environments for their high end customers?

those invited by current members. But sometimes an invitation just isn’t enough. Gaining entry into this new generation of private online world can involve an intimidating process of review, such as career-orientated sites

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