I fancy myself a little above average regarding social media. I’ve customized my (and my son’s) Facebook privacy settings, I’ve attended a Tweet Up or two. But when I think about what other social media sites might be out there? Yeah. #mindblown.
Here are some of my favorites from the world beyond Facebook:
Love to travel, but tired of following 50 other people behind the guide with the yellow umbrella? Get the authentic travel experience by staying with a local in any continent in the world (yes, even Antarctica!). My first surf was in Jersey, with a view of the Manhattan skyline. My first surfer was a Hare Krishna who grew up in Ohio. As you would expect, there are many security functions on a site like this, and multiple questions to answer in order to fill out your profile. There are groups for local areas (the Seattle group is one of the largest) and interests (movies, writing, etc.), so there’s plenty of opportunity to get to know potential surfers/hosts.
More than just a streaming music site — it’s a music community. Click on any room that catches your eye (maybe a Mashup room playing Katy Perry + Blondie, or get classy in the Boomswing Cabaret). Anyone can start a room, anyone can DJ (each room has their own rules, so check the “room info” tab once you’re there). Rate the song as “Lame” or “Awesome” and watch the meter move. The more “Awesome” votes you get as a DJ, the more avatar options you have… and the cooler you’ll be.
And here are a few new sites to explore:
Cyworld (South Korea):
Put your Castle/City/Farmville friends to shame… erm… if you know Korean. Cyworld users have a page where friends can post messages — somewhat like Facebook’s wall — but they also have what’s called a minihompy: a Sims–like room that users design themselves using site–based currency. The currency is known as dotori (acorns), with each dotori costing about 100 won ($0.09 USD). That may seem small… but the purchase of these little nuts accounted for about 80% of Cyworld’s Korean income in 2006.
Parle Français? Me neither. But do you want to learn? Then take a look at Busuu. Heck, if you just want to click in Xhosa or wish your Croatian neighbor dobro jutro… this it a good starting point. There are structured language learning tools for 12 common languages, but go beyond that to chat with others in a new language (or help them translate their English). There are groups (including one called “Global Foods” — nom!), and you can post something in any language and ask native speakers to review for grammar or pronunciation. The name of the site comes from a language spoken in Cameroon — a study done in the 1980’s claimed that only 8 people were still able to speak Busuu. It’s one of the languages listed on the site… if you want to learn that, too.
There are 207 social media sites listed on Wikipedia’s social networking website list. Facebook is still the elephant in the middle of the room, but check out the other options — they may surprise you!