I began my journey of social networking by receiving an invitation to "be friends with" a buddy of mine who already had his own page (a few years ago). So i figured I should check it out (after finding out it was free to view/join/post page). Seemed like a neat idea to be able to post pictures of your friends, see how they're all connected, share information about yourself, what interests you have, etc. After checking out the site a bit and exploring my friends page (http://www.friendster.com/1159869) I decided to say sure I'd "be a friend" with him on his page. And then I began to develop my own page. http://www.friendster.com/1941169
The technical aspects were pretty easy. Fill out some basic personal information (up to your comfort level), add a picture if you want (easy uploading), list you hobbies, who you want to meet through the site, and start to invite your friends to view your site. It was really great to start to see how all my friends are connected and see who their friends are. Quite the purpose as the founder and CEO of Friendster writes on this page: http://blog.fastcompany.com/archives/2004/03/16/what_the_heck_is_social_networking.html
I also got the chance to find out about other groups my friends are involved with and read others blogs. Then I found the testimonial section, where friends of mine wrote something about me, I had to approve or deny it, and then let it be published on my site. One concern though is security and safety especially when children are involved. The incidents with MySpace and children meeting up with strangers makes me wonder how appropriate the use of social networking is for kids and how parents need to be strongly involved when their children are using the internet. One way I think social networking could be used with students would be that of a classroom sharing a page, each having their own section and sharing details about their class (somewhat like a blog). The teacher could be the moderator and share their class page with others.
Other examples and info about social networking:
- MySpace http://www.myspace.com
- Facebook http://www.facebook.com
- Classmates http://www.classmates.com
- Read more about how schools and librarians are trying to keep children safe: http://www.ala.org/ala/yalsa/profdev/socialnetworking.htm