How can I join my dual loves of being social and surfing the web?
September 1, 2009 11:41 PM   Subscribe

I enjoy surfing the web, but I'd like to make it a more social activity. Any recommendations?

On the weekend, I enjoy getting a good coffee, firing up the laptop and surfing the news sites (and perhaps a little metafilter here and there).

One thing I don't like about it is that its often quite antisocial, if I'm out with someone its not easy to share the experience. I thought perhaps its the sites I'm visiting. Are there any sites that people think lend themselves more to "shared surfing"?

So my idea is that when I go to a cafe and read the paper, if someone else is there we can point out interesting stories, swap pages etc. Obviously with just one laptop someone has to use the mouse, but I am hoping there are recommendations for sites that would suit to more group websurfing?

posted by Admira to Technology (8 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Some websites participate with Facebook Connect, and what you're browsing can be shared. There's also shared stuff on Google Reader.

As for in-person, maybe you could get a like-minded group together. Perhaps through
posted by cmgonzalez at 11:53 PM on September 1, 2009

I dunno if this is the kind of solution you're after, but I keep a tumblog which people occasionally read, whether on their own or when we're hanging out (I post a strange mix of academic long reading and trippy images/videos, so it's suitable for this). Sometimes stuff I post comes up in IM conversations, email, or even in-person.

You can also just post links to Facebook and the like, or email them to people you think might be interested. It's called "social networking" for a reason.
posted by Jebdm at 12:25 AM on September 2, 2009

Before Microsoft bought it, Ray Ozzie's Groove Networks published a software client app that could be used at no charge for personal uses, that really helped collaborative surfing. It still does, but having sold out to MS, the latest client now costs money, and future versions are being folded, slowly, into the morass that is Sharepoint. But for now, you can still download and use the old Groove 3.1 client, which works really well for temporarily stringing together a few peer-to-peer client machines, on a cheap, little 5 port hub, with a few Ethernet cables, to form a little ad hoc peer-to-peer collaborative surfing club.

So, you and your cabal all download and install the Groove 3.1 client freeware on your individual laptops, then meet at your local coffee shop, connect your machines via a little 5 port Ethernet hub to form your own little temporary private LAN, and if you like, one of you can even share his WiFi connection with the others via Windows Internet connection sharing, to save hammering the hot spot with your separate streams of client traffic.

The Groove client will allow you to "publish" your view of a Web page to others, and has little tools for local IM, "Post It" notes, drawing, pointing, shared whiteboard, and other collaborative games. Go nuts!
posted by paulsc at 2:45 AM on September 2, 2009 [2 favorites]

Seconding Google Reader. You can share articles and such on there, with or without comments, and then any of your friends can comment on them, leading to some interesting conversations. I find it a great way to keep in touch with my friends at work (where most stuff is blocked).
posted by Grither at 4:50 AM on September 2, 2009

Any forums site is good for shared surfing. My favorite is Something Awful which isn't completely awful. Quite a few MeFi users are members of SA and interesting stuff gets linked back and forth. Of course, if you're looking for sharing the fruits of your surfing, then something like Stumble Upon?
posted by JJ86 at 6:11 AM on September 2, 2009

There's always Stumbleupon.
posted by reenum at 7:42 AM on September 2, 2009

Response by poster: Interesting answers, thanks to all who responded. I'm glad I wasn't more specific in my question or I probably would have missed out on them! I was actually thinking more of either a dual pane browser that would split the screen in half that would let two people surf different websites on the same laptop using the keyboard, or another way of two people surfing the web together (i.e. websites that lend themselves more to this than isolated web browsing).

The Groove app sounds particularly interesting!
posted by Admira at 4:56 PM on September 2, 2009

I've seen several things like what I think you're talking about in the past -- things sort of like this and this -- but I can't remember any of them, and furious googling has brought me nothing. They do exist, though -- overlay persistence apps where you can surf around with other people and chat. Sorry I can't remember the specifics of any of them.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 2:48 AM on September 3, 2009

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