So I thought I’d figure out how many social networking applications I had accounts with. I was surprised when I saw just how many I was signed up to.
- The best layout/presentation/customisation by far. Profile customisation is amazing &emdash; you’ve seen my profile; it’s pretty much the default layout with a few different colours. Now check out local Auckland band SansArcade’s Virb.com profile. It’s the goodness.
- Compared to Virb°, Facebook is more about networking and less about profile customisation, i.e. while you can drag and drop your profile modules to change the layout, you can’t change colours/fonts/CSS. Profiles are not public – you’ll need a Facebook account to see them. The user interface is usable, and as with Virb°, very tidy.
- Bebo is much more casual than the previous two. Customisation is limited to colours and module background images – you can make your own if you want. Targeted at a younger market, Bebo is “the largest social networking site in the UK, Ireland, and New Zealand, and the third largest behind MySpace and Facebook in the United States” (from their ‘About’ page.)
- MySpace is one of the bigger social networks. It’s also one of the uglier ones.
- MSN Spaces
- Microsoft’s offering. MSN Spaces ties in with your Windows Live/Hotmail account.
- A business networking application. Focus on skills and work experience.
- Also a business networking application. Focus on contact generation and management.
- An online network to facilitate offline networking. Used for arranging meatspace meetings of people and groups with specific interests.
So those are the networks I have accounts with. I really only use a couple of them; the others I’ve just signed up to for a look-see.
I’m not sure how much value these networks add. I imagine the business networks could be useful if you’re looking to hire people with specific skills, or if you’re looking for work. The ‘fun’ networks are handy for staying in touch with friends, etc.
Some people put a lot of time and effort into their profiles &emdash; really epitomizing their chosen sub-culture with references to stereotypical bands, movies, etc.
There has been some concern around people offering too much personal information, and inadvertently making themselves targets for stalkers and other unsavoury contacts. There have been a few incidents where use of social networking has allegedly led to criminal activity, even homicide. Some profiles are set up posthumously to honour the memory of a friend(s) who have been killed in car accidents, shootings, etc.
I guess I’m more of a recreational user, myself.
I am very much looking forward to the Auckland Web Meetup this coming Thursday evening. I’ll probably write about that at some stage.
What are your thoughts on online social networks?