What is the best/nicest social network?
July 20, 2004 2:47 PM   Subscribe

What is the best/nicest social network? Orkut, Friendster, Flickr, maybe Dogster?
posted by plexi to Computers & Internet (19 answers total)
Here's a new one based loosely on a "popularity contest" theme that includes "a 'pop culture member search' which matches your favourite album, movie and book against those of the other members and finds those people that have similar tastes."

Just got the advert in my e-mail today. I like the pop culture bit, hate the popularity contest bit.

posted by Shane at 2:51 PM on July 20, 2004

All of them save Flickr are equally pointless. OK, great, I've answered a 100-question survey about my preferences w.r.t. literature, music, sexual positions, etc., and I've "befriended" all the people I'm already friends with... now what? Chat, in a much-delayed way reminiscent of MeFi? Um, ok, but why couldn't I do that before?
posted by gleuschk at 3:28 PM on July 20, 2004

Orkut is about 40% Brazilian, so if that's not your thing, avoid them.

I haven't tried any of the others yet, but I was hoping to do some professional networking using one of the services. I'm interested in hearing anyone's opinions of the best service aimed at that function.
posted by acridrabbit at 3:31 PM on July 20, 2004

LinkedIn aims to fo whar you ask for acridrabbit. I've been with my current employer for 4 years so I've never had a chance/need to give it the acid test.
posted by Flat Feet Pete at 3:43 PM on July 20, 2004

I've found tribe.net to have a pretty large number of people already on it, is relatively un-annoying, and while it's not specifically business-oriented, it is trying to do something useful. It's got some decent communities and its "friendster-meets-craigslist" classified-ads have been useful to me (I found a housemate through it). I got on the social-network bandwagon along with everyone else, but tribe.net is the only one I check with any regularity.

I'm also on LinkedIn, and actually did get one contract through it.
posted by adamrice at 4:00 PM on July 20, 2004

I used LinkedIn for a while, and it was cool at first. It's meant to help you find people with specific interests or skills within your broad business/social circle, so you can look for an "information architect" or "marketing expert", and find a resource that's also within a degree or two of someone you know well.

Pretty quickly, though, I ran into what's got to become a systemic problem on these things--someone I know got joined to some kind of mad link whore, who had like 1,000 1st-degree links.

Now all of a sudden, this guy's just two degrees away, and my "3rd-degree" network jumps to 1,200 people. Since half the people he links to are link whores as well, my fourth-degree network is like 10,000 people, and the whole thing is totally useless. Every search gets 500+ hits, and they're all through some guy I definitely don't want to know.

You know what I call the remaining list of people who are all within one or two degrees of connection to me? My friggin' address book.
posted by LairBob at 4:06 PM on July 20, 2004

Self-link alert: my blog is my social network.
posted by Space Coyote at 4:13 PM on July 20, 2004

I like Orkut, having tried Friendster, FolkLikeMe and lots of dating sites. I've met some nice people through it, and think the communities and scrapbooks are a good way to maintain links and chat aimlessly online. So what if it's full of Brazilians? MetaFilter is full of Americans but I still come here.
posted by cbrody at 4:42 PM on July 20, 2004

Orkut is excellent. It's particularly good if you're looking for like minded souls who are into obscure topics. For example, the MetaFilter community on Orkut has over 200 members! Orkut has a lot of recognisable people, particularly related to Google or Open Source, compared to other networks. Orkut is particularly good for business networking, there are editors of magazines and all sorts on there.
posted by wackybrit at 5:23 PM on July 20, 2004

I use Friendster, which has a large Asian community. It's pretty good for finding friends in common and stuff like that. I signed up for Orkut thanks to a friendly MeFi invite, but I don't know anyone on it... I think the fact that it's invite-only makes it too tough for people to get on. None of my friends are gonna bother when I'm the only person they know on it.

If you're in college, The Facebook opened this year and is pretty much awesome. It lets you look at people in your school, search via classes, etc...
posted by swank6 at 6:18 PM on July 20, 2004

friendsters the most extensive. feels very much like a social reference book to me. but my space!
posted by c at 7:42 PM on July 20, 2004

Orkut's reliability and features beat Friendster, but Friendster has more people signed up, at least in the circles I travel.

Friendster's reliability and speed have, in fact, improved considerably in the past couple of months. I'd now consider it the better of the two choices.
posted by scarabic at 8:10 PM on July 20, 2004

I second myspace!
posted by mcsweetie at 9:28 PM on July 20, 2004

I signed up with most of them [including Breedster] and they all seem to have different strengths but none of them really does it for me overall.

- Friendster has reliability issues, is getting ad-heavy, has a lot of [fun or annoying, depending how you pick] fakester identities like cities and buildings that you can befriend. Fairly good search engine. Seems to be geared towards dating/relating and a crowd that is younger than me, you can't create affinity groups without one person owning it.
- Tribe.net has no ads, seems a bit "hipper" has an easier look and you can join up with people who are like-minded on a specific issue and create affinity groups. So, for example, I belong to the OSX group and there's lots of good advice and discussion there. Tribe.net has more "adult" themed groups and seems to have a large Burning Man/Bay Area crowd, fewer rural folks. They use RSS for the groups, I seem to recall, so it's easier to stay connected w/o going to the website, at least on a read-only basis.
- Orkut has more people you've heard of in the technorati world like Esther Dyson, John Perry Barlow, various a-listers of various subcultures. It has a more international crowd as well. It's the only place I've seen a lot of community-like places in other languages. It's members-only but I'll happily invite anyone who wants to join. I dislike the ugly interface there and their weird rules and norms about community, so I go there less than I might otherwise.
- Linked-In's geoloc database says that I live in New York when I type in my zipcode [which is in Vermont] so I don't use them ever

None of them do even the basic things I'd want a true web site reflecting a social network to do which is allow customization of look/feel/functionality. I mean, even My Yahoo lets you pick colors and choose how many headlines you want to see on the main page. I'd like to be able to do more stuff like that. All of them require a certain amount of commitment in terms of actually going to the site, at a time when I've got less time for surfing and fussing with clunky interfaces. I hate to be a fan-girl, but text-only Mefi does most of what I want and very little of what I don't want, especially now that it has the weird little "connections" part on the user pages.
posted by jessamyn at 3:37 AM on July 21, 2004

[Re: Orkut] I dislike the ugly interface there

I don't get it. I've heard this a few times now. I'm usually the first to bitch as soon as something doesn't meet my high design ideals, and while Orkut suffers from small-font-a-litis, I really can't see what's so bad about the interface. It's all pretty clear and obvious, nothing too cryptic, and the more advanced features are kept to the background. I'd be interested to know why so many people seem to dislike it.
posted by wackybrit at 4:50 AM on July 21, 2004

thefacebook.com if you're a college student
posted by alex3005 at 12:33 AM on July 22, 2004

I should mention that I'd appreciate an invite from someone with Orkut access. Email in my user page.

Thanks in advance.
posted by five fresh fish at 12:53 AM on July 22, 2004

fff, check your operamail.
posted by jessamyn at 5:28 AM on July 22, 2004

Thanks, Jessamyn.

So I spent the past couple hours poking around Orkut. It doesn't look much different from the old-time Usenet, back when alt.sex was on-topic and one "knew" everyone there (ditto for all other groups, too; indeed, moreso, as they were all much smaller than alt.sex.)

I'm having a hard time discerning a use for these social networks. But I'll give it a shot.
posted by five fresh fish at 6:58 PM on July 24, 2004

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