I have updated SleeplessinNY with live updates from CES on Social Media attending Social Media Jungle, Digital Hollywood and the expo. Social Media topics discussed:

  • authenticity
  • trust
  • personal and professional
  • widgets as a platform
  • some updates on tech front
  • social media principles
  • social media future

You’re all invited to read and respond! http://sleeplessinny.wordpress.com/

“The net is an informal term for the loosley interconnected computer networks that use CMC technology to link people around the world into public discussions” that’s from Howard Rheingold’s intro to the book that defined Online Communities – The Virtual Community, way back in 1993, in which he documented his experiences from participating in the WELL, one of the earliest online communities. There’s nothing new here. right? what I really find important about this page is actually the next paragraph “Virtual communities are social aggregations that emerge from the net when enough people carry on these public discussions long enough, with sufficient human feeling, to form web of social relationship in cyberspace” to Rheingold, there is a deeper drive, a ‘human glue’ that holds everyone together to make them a community.

Rheingold was the first to put into words a notion that has been out there for around 30 years already – people with shared interests and expertise CAN communicate with no time, space and location restriction, using the magical help of a network. Some criticize Rheingold for being a bit too emotional and nostalgic with how he painted the value and experience of communities. Others hold him as the spiritual father of online communities as we know and grow and develop today. However you choose to view Rheingold’s view of communities, it doesn’t change the fact online communities a) have been around for a long time, so there is much we can learn about and from them b) online communities fulfill a wide range of human needs: be it emotional, informational or intellectual.

I personally connect with communities simply because it engages people in conversation and enhances the boundaries of one’s knowledge. And I am not necessarily talking about the kind of knowledge you get when you open a text book, but of a social, tacit, deep understanding you would have never found anywhere else. Be it a community such as Open Source, which changed the face of Software industry; a social network for leisure or family purposes that reassure and create emotional support; or a professional community that enhanced productivity and sharpens expertise. Each community is different, each changes lives and contributes to a much better and enjoyable personal and professional lives. You can tell by the ‘sound’ of my voice I am a Rheingold fan – yes I admit it…

So, which were crucial communities across the history and what was their contribution?

* ARPANET – mid-late 60’s. ARPANET stands for Advanced Research Projects Agency Network, created within the walls of the U.S. Department of Defense, but with a research oriented goal rather than a military one. The key figure was J.C.R. Licklider – Lick – who nicknamed the group of people working on the project ‘Intergalactic Network’ even before an actual network was formed, this was the beginning of internet as we know it today, but it also highlighted a crucial aspect of community: “It is not proper to think of networks as connecting computers. Rather, they connect people using computers to mediate. The great success of the internet is not technical, but in human impact.” (David Clark).

* USENET – late 70’s. The formation of ‘message boards’ allowing users to create threads of conversations.

* Communities of Practice – 90’s: Etienne Wegner develops the concept of learning and knowledge management around Communities of Practice, as an offline and online concept. Taking this thinking and using online messaging/chatting/discussion tools, a whole new set of options and personal/career experiences is discovered.

* AOL, About.com, Amazon, ebay – mid-late 90’s, with the internet and world wide web being discovered by the ‘ordinary person’, the online community, a group of people gathering around products, interests, and processes is starting to bloom.

Now we have social networking with or without a community built on top of it (facebook, LinkedIn), conversations (twitter) and social aggregators (friendfeed) – the web is a web of content, people and information, and we can choose whichever way to go and how much to consume, and the only limitation is that of time and not enough hours in the day.

link: http://www.booksprouts.com/
ok, so I am no book worm. I read sections of texts books relevant to what I do for a living, and get mostly feed of feeds (internet feeds). BUT! the minute I got into this site I immediately wanted to put on my reading glasses, go to a library or crawl under the duvet with a big, dusty, fantasy story.
steps to start socializing with/on the site are clear:
1. create a book club
2. invite your friends
3. choose a book and start discussing/debating!

without being registered one can see most popular groups (some are international),  view recommended books, or learn more about the site.  Users can join open groups, which are available to all users, or request to join closed groups which require manager approval of members. The site is fairly new and members are a few, so finding a group with already many people to join is not easy. One of site’s main goals, as stated on their homepage, is to help people form online book clubs with their friends – however, one of the best things about online networks and communities is creating online groups with no limits of time and location, finding people from other countries and places who like the same things – books in this case – as you. The site will benefit from offering tools to help form groups around specific books. Currently selection of offered books is rather thin and tools to offer books is limited. Overall it’s a great idea, now it needs time to mature and age well and see where it goes.

Link: http://www.HemiSpace.com

Goal: a social network aimed at helping users reach their goal and make a change.

Key offer:

1. tell the world about your goal

2. complete the smaller tasks and reach your ultimate goal

3.  create a group and invite like minded people for a change

Overall L&F: profile, layout and navigation are very similar to facebook.

‘let’s change the world and start by changing ourselves!’ is the overall theme from this site.  Induction into the site is not too clear, there isnt much content that pushes user to start using the profile or groups, which are the main focus of the site.

one of the strongest trends in online networking and community is with Moms. stay at home moms, working moms, young moms, old moms, moms with one kid, moms with many kids. and they have the coolest features:

parentcenter.com – most known site with growth charts, health pie charts and checklists from here til your child is 25 yld 🙂 .

http://www.keepaboo.com/ – allows moms to track growth and upload photos – and create a book out of it

http://www.familycrossings.com/ – a family group – watch the demo it’s worth it.

http://www.cozi.com/ – cool assortment of apps such as calendar, shopping lists (that mom can task dad with!) . to do’s. photo album – some synching with your calendar!

http://www.glubble.com/ – offers content protection and twitter like technology for family members to stay in touch.

http://lifesnapz.com/ – document your family timeline

http://www.shwup.com/ – create multimedia albums for your family

http://famiva.com/ – did you know your grandgrandgrandpa was related to that guy with works with you in the same floor??? import email contacts to create geneaology and family tree maps integrated to world maps. profile for each family members, family mini sites, events and reminders and all family events documented and shared using any media files.

http://www.schoolpulse.com/ – helps mom manage their calendars synch with the school activity calendar

http://www.baveo.com/ – blogging just for moms

hotmom, momcafe, socialmediamom – social networking sites for moms

http://www.lilgrams.com/ – safely share your baby’s pics

http://kidmondo.com/ – document your baby’s baby steps. securely.

these are just a bunch… there is a huge list that is growing every single day. for a busy target market, moms find the time to go to these sites to get the help they need whether a tool to help them manage family, track the kid’s development, manage the hubbie 🙂 , and pour theihearts to someone that will understand harsh feelings.

As if I was a good blogger with my two other lovely blogs ‘sleepless in NY’ and ‘Mobile diet’ I am adding a new blog here. no, I will probably have even less time to update this one, but going for it regardless as important to me to distinguish between the three. this one is looking ONLY at social and professional networks and communities. ONLY.

Theories, examples, real life stories – all around online networking and communities.