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The Skinny on Popular Social Sites

Meeting people from “online” is no longer taboo. Having conversations with people you may never meet in person is a common practice now. With the advent of blogging and easy to use sites like Myspace as well as other social networking sites, being a part of this huge internet community is easier than ever. In fact, it has almost become a requirement. It’s hard to find someone who hasn’t been asked: “What’s your Myspace?” from a co-worker or classmate..

Now that these networking sites have gotten so expansive, it’s hard to know which one is right for you. Each site has a different vibe and with it a different culture. Fear not! There’s a place on the Web where anyone can belong, you just have to know where to look. It is because of this that I decided to create a mini-review of the most popular Social Network/Bookmarking Sites that I’ve had experience with.

Myspace
I remember when Myspace was cool, everyone had one. You could upload photos, comment on your friends pages, and write quick direct messages to them. One thing that I found particularly odd is that there was a place to blog on Myspace, but hardly anyone did. It was more a competition of who could throw up the most glitter words and pictures of girls making out than provide anything of literary value.

Then came the porn bots. They search for you based on your marital status so if you’re listed as “single” expect to receive a bunch of random invites/messages with pre-generated
response talking about how much they want you. We also can’t forget the Myspace signature self-shot photos in the mirror:

Though some are better than others. ;D

Facebook

When this web site game along, I really didn’t want to switch to it. After all, Myspace serving my purpose well as I didn’t have to do much upkeep. (unlike the blog on Xanga that I had before) Begrudgingly, I created a name on Facebook and saw that I was instantly “recommended people that I know”. Not having to search right away for that first friend? Neat.

Then I got sucked into the “applications”. At the time, Myspace didn’t have anything like that. I played games, completed IQ tests, I even could see if my friends thought I was “Hot or Not”, and give them gifts like roses or stuffed animals. ‘Interesting’ I thought to myself and continued developing my profile. I went an entire year without getting one random friend request from artificial people. No more porn bots? Awesome, I’m sticking with it.

Sites like Myspace and Facebook: Hi5, Friendster, Bebo, MyChillingSpot, Zooped

Twitter
Sally has to walk her dog. at 10 am
Sally decides she needs to go on a diet. at 1pm
Sally couldn’t help but eat a big piece of chocolate cake for dessert. at 7pm

This is an example of the premise behind Twitter. After logging into your account, you are prompted: “What are you doing?” Some people choose to take this literally, spelling out each and every aspect of their daily lives and posting pictures about it. Others write funny things they learn along with tweeting meaningful quotes.

Based on how interested people are by you, you gain followers who are updated each time you tweet something new. You can follow others as well, varying from people whom have the same interests as you to celebrity tweeters like Shaq. I love Twitter so much that I notice that something feels a little “off” when I don’t update or check my account. It’s like one big family of technologically aware people.

Sites like Twitter: Friendfeed, Plurk, Pownce


Digg

So maybe writing little tidbits about your life and posting pictures galore isn’t your thing. If you’re not into social networking because you want to feel like you’re contributing something that’s bigger than yourself, then that’s where social bookmarking comes into play. I’ve had a Digg screen name for quite some time now.

You can manage your friends relatively easily, and maintain your account simply by surfing the net and submitting stories that you find interesting. You then tell your network of friends about these stories (called shouting) and they decide if it’s worth their Digg, which is like kudos of sorts. I have much love for Digg because there is an unwritten Code of Conduct that sort of weeds out the assholes, trolls, and those who are generally illiterate.

If you like Digg already you may like: StumbleUpon, Reddit, Delicious

I’ve been active in the world wide web for almost a decade now, and have witnessed the various stages of metamorphosis of the internet. We have gone from typing various lines of code and dialing in to having instant net access with a mere touch of a button. It’s incredible the rate at which technology is progressing and I’m really excited to be a part of it.

To all my friends from Digg, Twitter and all the various social sites, I’m glad that we have “met”. To people wondering what the culture of the internet is all about, the best way to discover it is to jump in feet first and I hope this article has helped you get them wet. ;D