If you’ve read this blog much at all you might realize that I’m a big fan of social networking. The tools I use may be new but the obsession isn’t.
I joined my first “social network” in 1994 when I got an account on Prodigy and joined their SAHM 30something message board. Some of the women I met there remain my dearest friends today. I joined a forum about Walt Disney World in 2002 looking for information about an upcoming trip and I still hang out with a crew of fellow “pirates” I met there.
So, yeah, not new to this. I don’t see a huge difference between social networking as it exists today and message boards, forums and even Usenet (now Google Groups) and IRC. Only the tools are cooler now. The functionality is essentially the same. Meet and talk to people you have something in common with.
But now I’m curious. Where do you hang out? What social networks do you use? I know a lot of my readers come here via Twitter, but where else do you plop your social networking behind? Flickr? Facebook? Second Life? A Ning group or two? Any forums? Maybe match.com or something similar (my sister met her husband on AOL!)
How long have you been forging relationships online? Do you value these relationships in the same way as your real life relationships or does it feel different? Are relationships even the point for you or is there something else that draws you in?
And if you don’t use social networks, why not? Is it about the time it takes (which is a very valid reason, it does take time!) or is there something more to it?