Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Social Networking and Internet Stalking

In the last few years, the Internet has become a place to make new friends and track down old ones. Social networking sites have become the big ticket to fame and fortune for their creators. I belong to several of of them. Some because they are good and some just because of peer pressure. I thought I'd break each of them down and the means to find me on them if you want to.

In the beginning there was Friendster and it was good. This was the first of its kind and it's still one of my favorites. I had a blog (and technically still do) there for years. This was a nice clean site and I liked using it. Apparently, being on friendster dates you as being over 30 (which I am). Unfortunately, it has slowly become a wasteland and very few people actually use it anymore. This is sad because it is superior in many ways to the other knock offs of this original social hub.

Then came the infamous Myspace. I hated this site and resisted joining it for a very long time. It gave me angelfire flashbacks when people would load their homepage with music and images. It slowly became a necessary evil. A few of the celebrity blogs I read are only on myspace and some of them require you to be a member to read it. So, I caved and joined it. It's okay I guess. People who were addicted to it have since moved on to greener internet pastures.

So now the big site is Facebook. It was originally only for high school and college students and you needed an educational email to get an account. Then one day they opened it up to everyone and it has been the current favorite for a while now. The benefit over the other two is it has all of these applications on it that let you play games and take tests and compare yourself to your friends. One of the biggest draws it seems is being able to play Scrabble with other people.

Aside from those big three, there are smaller more specialized sites. One of them is called ComicSpace. Not a terribly original name, I'll grant you. This is a myspace-esque site just for comic book people. A lot of professionals and independents use this site to promote their work. It's a place for fans and artists/writers to talk and/or complain about comics. I have actually discovered a few new webcomics through this site, but I don't use it as often as I should. I'd recommend it to people who are avid comic book readers.

Recently, a new site came my way called Last.fm. This is kind of a cool one for music. It's a place that you can share, swap and talk about music legally. There are ways to share songs or buy them through other sites. You can link it up to your iPod/iTunes library and it will keep track of what you are listening to and rank them each week. It's also a way to listen to music either through playlists that you have created or ones other people have recommended. I'm hoping this one catches on because I am always looking for new music.

The most practical of all of these is called LinkedIn. I always describe this as a hybrid of friendster and monster.com. It's a place where you can keep track of your colleagues and what friends are doing professionally and/or use it to look for a new job or have a new job find you. I know of at least two people that joined just to keep track of friends and were contacted by head hunters. One of the cool things this does is when you go to apply for a job it will check and see if any of your friends or friends of your friends work for that company or division. You can then contact them and ask for more info or a recommendation. Another benefit is it helps you organize your resume by having you fill out all your information. Because it is a social site and not just a place to look for work, you won't have to hide from your co-workers/bosses like some people do on monster.com.

Twitter is not like the others. This is kind of an unusual one that is more like an instant messenger than anything else. People use it to promote their stuff or make random or snarky comments to people. I haven't quite found a way to use this to my advantage, but I think I just need to play on it more.

Those are all the social sites I belong to and use. There are untold variations of these sites out there. Some I've tried and quit, some I just have no interest in and some it's just a matter of time before I discover. So below are my screen names and/or links to my profiles if you want to invite me to your network.

All of my profiles say basically the same stuff so you're not going to find any new information on me.

Friendster: http://www.friendster.com/fangirly or you can search for me by name, but only if you have an account

Myspace: http://www.myspace.com/fangirly

Facebook: You can search for me by name

Feel free to contact me through any of these sites! Thanks!

No comments: