Before I delved into this entry, I had to do some researching to discover what the scope of social networking is, and I must say that I’m still not sure what exactly it is. It seems to me that the internet in it’s entirety is a space for social networking: blogs, forums, chat rooms, mySpace, FaceBook, we all connect and link up via these venues and so many more.
I myself have avoided mySpace since the beginning. FaceBook I registered for at some point early in my college years but I rarely visit and if I want to talk to anyone I just email them, so there’s really no networking going on there. Twitter, I got into that back in Nov, but it’s lost it’s glamour and pisses me off more days than it does anything else, the networking has basically stopped.
Diabetes wise, I read many diabetes blogs and have begun to network with the authors, I’m involved in the Diabetes 365 project on Flickr, and I’m a member of Diabetes Daily and TuDiabetes and now there’s the most recent Diabetes social networking site DiabetesFriends.net that I’ve joined.
Quite frankly, all the diabetes social networking that I’m now doing is new to me. The reading of the blogs, the forums, etc, I avoided it for a long time, it had something to do with ignoring the fact I had diabetes, something about denial. *shakes head* Regardless, the only thing I now keep up on is the blogs that I read, and I’m picky about those, I have the ones I do read in my RSS feeder so I’m sure to not miss anything and I keep up with what’s going on and then there’s the ones that I’ll occasionally visit. But, beyond the blogs I read, and the looking at photos almost daily in the Diabetes 365 project on Flickr, I’ve withdrawn from the communities.
So, what are my initial thoughts. Well, there’s the fact that I’m a little overwhelmed by the number of sites that are slightly different but all pretty much the same as far as diabetes “social networking” sites are concerned. I’ve got to dig through them and find out which one bests meets my needs so that I can stick with one and save myself from having to worry about posting on multiple sites. I’m sure my questions will get answered on any of the sites, the real question is, what site will offer the most resources (people and knowledge) and where will my questions get answered the quickest with the best answer. Site design also falls into the group of data on where to rank a site because I have a problem with sites that are impossible to get around or you have to dig through too many layers to get to where you want to go.
Diabetes Friends is a new site, I’ll give it that much, there’s not much too it and thus it is easy to get around, as of today they’ve started forums, but I kindof feel as though that may have been a moot point because my thinking is that people aren’t going to move from their current favorite place over to Diabetes Friends.
They’ve also asked us about a Diabetes Wiki as well as chat rooms, and at this I really think that they’re trying to do something that’s already been done, because it exists out there and it makes me wonder, why are they doing something that’s already been done instead of working on something new that would attract diabetes and build a community unlike the ones that already exist (not that I have any ideas on how to do this, I’m just saying).
All the sites, DiabetesDaily, TuDiabetes, and DiabetesFriends gives us the ability to blog directly on the sites, while this can be a useful feature many of the members have blogs of their own on other sites, i.e. blogger, wordpress, or a personal site. What would be useful is if our blog feed could be partially imported to the D sites that we’re part of, kindof in a scraper fashion where it gives part of the entry, the entry title and then says “more at blah” where blah is our site and then it links to our original entry. This would be useful because it would bring more traffic to our individual sites and cause a greater degree of networking among us D peeps. Now that would be a useful feature.
I’ll stick around DiabetesFriends for a while and see what becomes of it, because as right now I have no loyalty to any of the communities. I guess if I’m going to get on the networking bandwagon I to keep an eye on these sites and see what it is that attracts me to them and how the community interacts with each other and whatnot.
I’ll give a better in depth review as I get more information and can give a better opinion about these sites.