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SXSW Interactive 2013

Let’s Get Vertical: The Next Evolution in Social

Where we’ve once been encouraged to think big, we’re now seeing vast potential in a new way of thinking. Over the past year, consumers have been increasingly drawn toward a more targeted social experience, giving vertical social networks the ability to make a splash. The overwhelming success of social networks focused around special interests demonstrates the breadth of possibilities still alive in the world of social, and really sets the stage for the next evolution of social networking.

This panel will bring together industry leaders to discuss their experiences building social networks focused around specific verticals such as romance, careers and discovery. They will address the broader trend of consumers moving away from larger social networking platforms in lieu of social networks that cater to specific interests. They will also address challenges and lessons learned based on their experiences building social networks amidst stiff competition in the space.

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  1. What’s next for social?
  2. Will dominant social networking sites like Facebook be able to maintain relevance as vertical social networks continue to pick up steam?
  3. Is there an audience for all verticals, or is it specific to broader consumer themes?
  4. Do vertical social networks have potential for longevity?
  5. What does it take to create a successful vertical social network amidst tough competition in the industry?


  • Shayan Zadeh, Co-Founder and Co-CEO, Zoosk
  • Rick Marini, CEO, BranchOut
  • Oliver Hsiang, Director of Strategic Partnerships, StumbleUpon


Leslie Grant, Account Executive, SHIFT Communications

Meta Information:

  • Event: Interactive
  • Format: Panel
  • Track: Social and Relationships
  • Level: Intermediate
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