#19 Beyond MySpace: other social networks

MySpace and Facebook may grab the headlines in social networking, but there are many other social networks. Social networks are online communities created around interests with people-to-people recommendations and communication. These specialized social networks allow like-minded users to find and interact with one another, whether around crafts or cars or any other shared interest. In this Thing, we'll take a look at some of these networks.

Discovery Resources:

Gather describes itself as the “leading social networking and media site for adults, with some of the highest quality user-generated content on the internet.” Most of the discussion on Gather is in a debate format, focused around a single issue, book, or theme to appeal to busy professionals. American Public Media is heavily invested in this site as an outlet for National Public Radio listeners.

Ning is a social networking site with a different focus. With Ning, you can set up your own social network based on your particular interest or join one that someone else has already created. There are several educator networks from which to choose. To learn more about Ning, check out one of the librarian or school related groups below.

Video demo of Ning by its CEO Gina Bianchini
School-related groups on Ning: Classroom 2.0, Teacher-Librarian Ning, Texas School Librarians, Teachers 2.0

Other social networks provide
recommendations and reviews, focus on various political candidates, promote career development, or revolve around an interest like music, pets, or food. Even AARP is getting into the social network sphere.

Wikipedia list of social network sites

Nine Ways to Build Your Own Social Network, TechCrunch July 24, 2007

Tips and tools to help your nonprofit get the most out of online networks, TechSoup, May 5, 2006

My Guide to Social Networks, a satirical article on social networks in PC Magazine

How Gather hopes to be the MySpace for Books in Publisher's Weekly

Discovery Exercise:

1. Mesquite Librarians also have a brand new Ning network. Join it and do at least 2 of the following:

  • Leave comments for another member
  • Upload your photos or video to the Ning
  • Add the Ning badge to your blog
  • Add another of the Ning widgets to your blog
2. Find another social network that might interest you. Explore the ones mentioned already or one of these suggestions:

Music Food Movies Books Hobbies
Getting Things Done
You get the idea; there is a social network for everyone. And, on the chance you can't find a social network that matches your interests, start one of your own.

3. Write a blog post discussing the following:
  • Are you a member of any online communities?
  • Are any of these social networks appealing to you?
  • What did you find that was interesting and that you might use later?


Lane said...

What about Wetpaint? They're a huge wiki community with social networking features. Lots of educators and businesses are even creating wikis with their own social network with Wetpaint so students can engage after class and consumers can interact directly with their favorite brands. It's really easy to use and fun!

Anonymous said...

With so many social networks out there now, it's difficult finding one related to your subject of interest or marketing niche. I find Google to be inefficient as it returns too many irrelevant results. The best resource I have come across to find niche social networks is the search engine http://findasocialnetwork.com