5 More Notable Social Networking Sites, and a Plug for I@SW 2006

September 3, 2006 at 3:11 pm 2 comments

“Are you a K-12 library media or technology specialist with information technology and the Internet on your mind? Are you looking for ways to bring both into better focus to further your students’ learning and your colleagues’ teaching?” These are the opening questions on one of my favorite conference’s website, Internet@Schools West 2006 (held again this year in Monterey, CA along with Internet Librarian 2006).

I really think this year’s conference is absolutely packed with social networking/L2 ideas and tools, for everyone, really, although geared toward library and technology professionals. I can’t wait to go! I have been preparing for my own paper and presentation there in October on these topics, as well as spending a lot of time this entire week preparing for Rider University‘s new faculty and new freshmen & international student orientations. Therefore, I neglected all of my feeds and ‘posting duties’ for the week, including Blog Day. So, I asked myself, what can I do to make up for all of this neglect?

My answer? Put a plug in for I@SW 2006 and share five (in the spirit of Blog Day) other notable social networking sites–you know, other than the famous MySpace and Facebook sites (by the way, these two are currently ranked very high in the U.S. and have gotten even more publicity due to their recent collaborations with Google and Microsoft, respectively). Anyway, here are five more sites I think that you should know about, in no particular order:

1) Windows Live Spaces – What is interesting to me about this is that WLSpaces is “one of the fastest growing blogging communities in the world with an estimated 100 million unique visitors per month as of May 2006,” according to an article cited within the “Windows Live Spaces” Wikipedia article. Alexa Internet does rank it very high, stating that WLSpaces is ranked 13th in the world in August, and it is 11th in the U.S. It boasts 30 million registered users. Definitely one to watch.

2) orkut – “orkut is an online community that connects people through a network of trusted friends.” The name may sound strange, even though I am sure that we are used to strange names on the Web. However, there is a reason: this social networking site, owned by Google, is named after Orkut Büyükkökten, the creator of the site and a Turkish software engineer at Google. By the way, even though Alexa ranked it 24th in the world in late August, it does not seem to be on the map for the U.S., as it is not even in the top 100. That will probably change. It does, however, have 24 million registered users.

3) Xanga – “Xanga is a community of online diaries and journals….The Xanga service is a blogging & social networking site – it exists to promote sharing and community.” It first started out as a book and music review site. Now, this social networking site is ranked in the world by Alexa as the 41st most popular site, but here in the U.S., it is not as popular as others—-it is only ranked 90th here, but it does have 40 million registered users.

4) hi5 – According to hi5 itself, “hi5 offers a popular destination for the teens and twenties demographic around the world.” hi5 does have 40 million registered members, concentrating in Latin America, the Caribbean, Europe, and North America. It is ranked by Alexa as 57th in the world, but the U.S. population does not seem to know much about it right now. Something I found interesting about it was that several high profile singers and models are confirmed to be members, according to the “hi5.com” Wikipedia article.

5) LinkedIn – LinkedIn, a personal information search engine, is also a social networking site, although it does cater to business people. It offers both free and fee-based options, and its goal is “to become the most useful business web site for millions of professionals across the globe.” This online network and search engine, as of the summer of 2006, connects almost 10 million experienced professionals from around the world, representing 130 industries. You may or may not have heard of LinkedIn, but it is certainly growing, and although it is not very popular right now throughout the world (rank of 262), it is fairly popular here, as Alexa ranks it as the 59th most popular site in the U.S. as of late August 2006.

I hope you find these interesting–enjoy!

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  • 1. Driek  |  September 4, 2006 at 4:01 pm

    For the strange story of orkut, see this NYT article. I remember when it was suddenly overrun by the Brazilians – it was a matter of weeks. I don’t think it’ll ever gain marketshare outside Brazil again.

    There is a real danger of a new balkanization happening on the net. Just as hi5 is big in South America, so is Hyves over here, to the extent that I doubt MySpace will ever get a chance. Meanwhile, we’re missing open standards to connect between these social sites. Some may have API’s, but that’s hardly going to cut it.

  • 2. Robert J. Lackie  |  September 4, 2006 at 7:52 pm

    Thanks for the NYT article link on orkut–yeah, Brazilians really, really like it, but it’s true that, at least for now, MySpace.com is the cyberspace teen’s choice in the U.S., although at Rider U., Facebook is used a lot. As I said earlier, I love learning about and using social networking/Web 2.0 tools and ideas, but I agree with you–even API’s on some of these sites are not enough. Maybe since the ‘big guys’ in search, techies everywhere, and the business world (in general) are really getting interested in the social Web, more will be done with these social networking sites, too–let’s hope! Thanks for visiting and commenting!

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