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+ - Best Social Network For Geeks?

Submitted by base65_encoded
base65_encoded (1666389) writes "By nature we geeks are not terribly social creatures and tend to stay away for social networks and the like unless there is something intellectually compelling for us. The flurry of status updates, quiz results, and photo albums that are the norm on sites like Facebook and MySpace tend to turn our stomachs. Outside of keeping in contact with old friends and/or family (Facebook's specialty), or chechecking out new bands (MySpace). What social network out there (if any) caters to the geek mindset of high-minded conversation on topics of interest to us?

I began with that premise (and a list of social networking sites and did mini reviews of a few old school sites (Facebook, MySpace, Orkut), specialized sites (last.fm, imeem) and a few up-and-comers (Jaiku, Advogato, Simler). Read on for my analysis.

Facebook: Primarily used or reconnecting with friends, family and colleagues. High signal-to-noise ratio.

MySpace: Hideously ugly layouts. Nearly impossible to find relevant information. Considered an also-ran by most social networking 'mavens'.

Orkut: Nice, clean user interface but mostly only popular in Brazil and parts of Asia. I had a hard time finding things that interested me on Orkut.

Last.fm/Imeem: I am lumping these together since they both focus on music discovery. While their topic may not have a whole lot to do with geeks (other than they fact that most of us really enjoy music), the way that they specialize in a topic and allow you to find other, related information is a breath of fresh air. I am a rather avid last.fm user.

Jaiku: A kind of Facebook meets Twitter meets Friend Feed venture from Google. I really like the concept of Jaiku but the homepage shows a list of recent activity and the last time I looked it was all from one guy pimping airline tickets. I may give Jaiku another shot when they clean up their spam problem.

Advogato: It may be a stretch to call Advogato a 'social network'; it is really more of a bulletin board for techies. All of the normal OSS and Free Software suspects can be found here. I found it to be gratifying on an intellectual level but didn't do much for me on the social level. I do recommend that you check this out though if you like to discuss technical stuff with some very learned people.

Simler: I just came across this site and am currently rather addicted. It is a social networking site whose focus is on the discussion of ideas (called 'tags') and not a whole lot of emphasis on the friends aspect. The concept is that by joining tags and commenting on them you can begin to find people who are similar to you. I can't do a very good job of explaining it, but here is the article that got me interested in the first place.

In summary, I don't think that there is a one-size-fits-all social network for geeks but with a combination of sites like Facebook, Advogato and Simler we can get what we need out of them.

What social networks do you recommend for geeks?"

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