One of the more recent trends in the Internet world is the concept of Social Network's and the Semantic Web. Social Networks are supposed to make it easier for you to interact with friends and communities online and make the web function more on a human scale.
Some of us remember Six Degrees, who tried to do this years ago and went under, and are coming back with a new site. I have had email lists for this sort of thing going for over 10 years now, and participated in newsgroup-type systems years ago, done the personal webpage thing, etc.
The Social Network sites offer great feature over my old, archaic mailinglists-- Friend-of-a-friend networking, personal journals, the ability to form interest groups, etc.
I'm looking to settle on one or two sites for my journaling wants. I'm looking for a Blog/Journal; flexible look-and-feel; User communities so I can talk to people with similar interests, ask technical questions, etc.; and a Friend-of-a-Friend service. I'd like the service to be indexed by search engines so that I'm not just speaking to a closed group.
Here is a short list of the communities I have participated in recently. There are dozens (hundreds) more:
Friendster - Probably the most well known. A "Bulletin Board", ,
Tribe.net - Like Friendster combined with Craig's List and a heavy influence of Burning Man. Pretty cool. Event listing, classifieds, but no journal capability! Arg!!!
Orkut - Invite only, which makes it more scalable and more "elite". Closed to the outside world which means that non-member's can't use your information at all.
Livejournal - One of the first Blogging sites. Confusing interface.
Blogspot/Blogger - Like LJ, but with a great flexible look-and-feel.
Slashdot - I have a ton of friends and foes on this site, but the journaling aspect leaves alot to be desired.
Here is my problem. There are many (too many?) social networking sites. Each site is isolated within it's own separate universe, with little or no interaction between the various sites. The lack of interaction adds an artificial barrier within the whole social networking idea. If one friend uses Friendster another uses Tribe, and another uses Livejournal; there is no interaction between these tools.
Likewise, I will post this journal text to the journal in each of my social networking accounts as an experiment. Unfortunately, the responses to each individual journal entry will remain separate, with no social interaction between the readers.
So my choice is to:
- Use all of the sites (too much work!)
- Look at different sites, become overwhelmed and give up (This is where I've been for the last several years)
- Pick one and stick with it
- Do it all on my own server, run it over my DSL line. This is also alot of work, and it there is no way for me to participate in the FOAF's out there.
Arg, what to do? What to do?