Discover online social networking and learn how you can participate in an existing network or create your own using sites such as Facebook, MySpace, LinkedIn and Ning.
TechSoup has some articles on nonprofits and social networking.
- Geared towards a younger audience, MySpace puts the "social" in social networking.
- MySpace's core strength has traditionally been in music, with special profiles available for bands (including free (if limited) mp3 hosting).
- While profiles can be made private, MySpace pages are, by default, visible to anyone and everyone.
- While this should be a concern for parents, it makes MySpace an interesting option for a person or organization looking to establish a web presence.
- Users can organize by forming groups, which come with forums.
- Facebook originated as an exclusive invite-only network for students at elite colleges and universities.
- Facebook users are generally part of a particular network (traditionally people joined as students of a particular college, although networks now include high schools and geographic regions).
- By default, Facebook profiles are visible to people in your network, although what is visible and to whom can be easily changed.
- Most of Facebook cannot be seen without logging in, although profiles may be searchable (this keeps changing...) .
- Facebook users can join groups, which come with forums and places to post media.
- Facebook has also recently introduced business/brand/org/band pages.
- Micro-blogging utility.
- Allows you and your friends to stay "hyper–connected."
- Users post what they're doing; other users are notified when someone they're following makes a new post.
- Other sites have this function, but Twitter does it better.
- One popular use for Twitter is as a "status update" widget on websites.
- Geared towards professionals, LinkedIn puts the "networking" in social networking.
- Here, you have "contacts," not "friends."
- Rather than getting as many "friends" as possible, the goal here is to replicate, strengthen and build on existing, real-world networks, with a focus on business and educational connections.
- Helps you connect to connect to contacts of contacts.
- Also has groups, but as with the rest of the site, these have more of a professional, networking bent.
- Takes the "groups" concept to the next level, essentially giving each group its own, autonomous social network.
- While users do have a site-level login, they only really exist within the various networks.
- Ning is useful because it essentially allows you to create your own social network, which can be public or private.
- Much of Ning's functionality can be replicated in Drupal.
- The advantage of this is that you have a greater level of control, and can tell your friends that you're using Drupal, which is hip and open source.
- The main disadvantage of using Drupal is that while it is very powerful, it isn't particularly user-friendly.