On the Radar

By Christine Brown, Intern

The top ten best social networking websites of 2011 are:

1 – Facebook

2 – Twitter

3 – Linked In

4 – MySpace (who is currently being sold by News Corp)

5 – Digg

6 – Orkut

7 – Hi5

8 – Badoo

9 – StumbleUpon

10 – Ning

Even though it seems like Facebook and these other nine sites have taken the social networking world by storm, there are still up and coming sites that are trying to break into the market. Some only want to cater to a certain audience while others want to rival Facebook.

Google+: Google, who has created a monopoly in the realm of search engines has branched into yet another area, social networking. With the help of a former Apple employee, Google+ is taking the idea of a social network and revamping it. A feature of it is something called “huddle.” This is when an individual can take numerous friends and put them in a chat room like atmosphere so that all parties can talk at the same time. All of this can be done from the comfort of a smart phone or computer. Google is using this as a way to diminish the stress of having numerous conversations and bringing all parties involved in to one common area. There is also a feature called “hangout.” With “hangout”, one can chat face-to-face through Google+ with the usage of a webcam. This can be used by two or more people at different computers or smart phones at the same time. “Sparks” is another asset which looks for articles or websites in areas that interest the user and Google+ will set them aside so one can take time to look at them. In a preview of the site, the creators refer to this feature as “the newspaper clippings your grandfather used to have for you.” Instead of groups, they have “circles.” By using this, an individual is able to separate people by interests or friends. There is also instant photo uploads that go straight from one’s mobile phone to the site. For an official tour one can go to: https://plus.google.com/up/start/?sw=1&type=st

Pottermore: Harry Potter fans were up in arms until the announcement Thursday, June 23rd of what Pottermore was. In a vague video, J.K. Rowling goes on to explain that the site is going to “bring the books to life.” What fans and enthusiasts are saying is that it is going to be a social networking site that will make the individual a part of the books and the world of Harry Potter. The website states that it is “a free website that builds an exciting online experience around the reading of the Harry Potter books.” According to an Associated Press article, the site will be operational on July 31st, coincidentally Harry Potter’s birthday. However, the public launch is expected in October. Users will be able to explore Hogwarts, Diagon Alley, and Platform 3/4. They can also be involved in numerous different games and there will be an opportunity to purchase the series in the form of an e-book. To view Rowling announcement go to: www.pottermore.com

Turntable.Fm: This site is unlike any that has been created before. When one first logs into the site he or she enters the “lobby” where there is a list of different rooms. The rooms include techno, nineties, eighties, dubstep, pop, hip-hop, and whatever else one can imagine. If none of the rooms fit an individual’s interest, there is an option to create his or her own room and become one of the deejays. Each person is able to create an avatar. Once in the room, it is set up like a nightclub or concert where there are five people who are the “deejays” and the rest of the people are facing them. Each deejay runs the risk of being voted out of his or her spot, then another lucky individual can take the position. There is a chat on the side so each person can interact with one another, thus adding the social aspect of the game. It has been known from time to time to have a celebrity pop in and give his or her input on the music. Lastly, there is also a rating scale where one can rate the song that is playing on a scale of “awesome” to “lame.” Turntable.fm has been referred to as “Facebook and iTunes combined.” It currently is in beta and one can only been invited by request or if he or she has a Facebook friend who is a member of the site. To request an invite go to: turntable.fm

None of these three sites are fully functioning or opened to the general public, but be on the lookout within the next few months. Is it a possibility that one of these could be a major competitor to Facebook? Only time will tell.

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