Sunday, March 14, 2010

Jaiku - Finland

Created with the desire of people to share updates on the web, have conversations and get together, Jaiku is a popular social networking, microblogging and lifestreaming service. The name was chosen because posts in Jaiku resemble Japanese haiku. It is by design compatible with the Nokia S60 platform to function seamlessly with mobile devices; users can make posts through the software onto their Jaiku page. What makes it different, compared to other micro-blogging services like Twitter, is the Lifestream feature which essentially utilizes third-party applications like flickr, and GPS by mobile phone to share users activities online. Ever since Jaiku got purchased by Google and became open-source, the Lifestream function was removed.

Friday, March 12, 2010

iWiW - Hungary

With registration on an invite-only basis, iWiW stands for International Who Is Who. Bearing all the common characteristics of a social networking web-based service setting its roots in Hungary, it quickly escalated to a point of more than 4 million users, which is almost the entire internet population of the country. After a brief period of multilingual interface, iWiW reverted back to Hungarian-only. Registration requires real names and users can provide personal information, such as date of birth, place of residence, interests, pets, workplaces, schools and universities they attended, various listings, and upload photos. People can keep in touch with their friends and acquaintances and connect with new ones through a search tool. In addition to that, the website provides a special java applet to better visualize the connections structure. Since the acquisition of iWiW by a Hungarian telco giant, and over concerns of privacy misuse, several other iWiW clones have gained popularity.

Thursday, March 11, 2010 - Germany

Emphasizing strongly on supporting and encouraging user-generated content, has succeeded in becoming a pure mobile social networking community to combine the advantages of mobile communication with personal content sharing. More than 3 million mobile phone users worldwide can vouch for that. Registration is open to anyone over 14; for underage users parental permission is required. Members can create and customize a personal homepage with information on gender, registration date, age, password, timezone, ignore list, forum settings, zodiac sign and city/country. Sections, such as mailbox, guestbook, diary, forum, chat and friendslists, are available, while allowing users to personalize their privacy settings. Profile pictures, background graphics, avatar designs, wallpapers, themes, emoticons are also editable items, whereas location-based social services like messaging, picture and video blogging, personal mobile social TV and mobile games are given a priority. Two types of users are active on the site, uploaders and downloaders. Due to the website's English, German, Italian, Spanish and Japanese versions, it's no wonder there are more than 100,000 personal mobile TV channels so far.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

indyarocks - India

One of India's most popular entertainment websites, indyarocks is an online community and mobile social entertainment platform with a target base of Indians across the world. With free registration and an unlimited freedom of expression, members can build and expand their network of contacts inviting, exploring and sharing with friends, families, classmates, co-workers, artists, organizations and generally anyone interested in the rich Indian culture. Staying in touch with existing relationships and getting introduced to new people, members can share interests and hobbies, contacts and free games, unlimited photos, videos, music, blogs, bollywood reviews and content, views and opinions. Other notable features include free sms, chat rooms, instant messaging and a continuously evolving mobile platform to render the social networking experience as easy and gratifying as possible. The website reports a user base of more than 3,5 million members and growing.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

InterNations - Germany

Maintaining a network of personal trust, where privacy protection and data security rank top among the project's priorities, InterNations is an international social network service reaching out to expatriates around the world: members of IGOs and NGOs, foreign correspondents, diplomats, multinational companies' employees and their family members, local residents with strong ties to this community, and students are some of the groups catered for by this endeavor. The online platform of InterNations uses a strict invitation-based policy where members and their families living and working abroad can interact through forums, newsgroups, a private messaging service and other common social networking tools. Points of strong interest are international relations and international business with focus specifically on issues like relocation, foreign affairs, expatriate housing and institutions, socializing and leisure. Not uncommon are user-generated guides for every local community features, such as restaurants, clubs, expatriate institutions and health care. Of particular interest are intercultural programs offering under-privileged students from all over the world the opportunity to live abroad and receive an international education. With an international mindset and a multicultural background or place of residence, this young start-up company claims, as of 2009, over 100,000 users in more than 250 cities around the world.

Monday, March 8, 2010 - China is an online community dedicated exclusively to learning foreign languages. Funded by Chinese and American investors, the community, available in 30 languages, combines the merits of a social network and a marketplace. The construct of language learning is supported by three different pillars: social learning, self-study and paid professional lessons. People from around the world meet online for free language exchanges, students connect with teachers for paid lessons, and complete language learning tools are available for free, such as Q&As, group discussions, and multimedia materials for self-study. The social aspects of connect native speakers with foreign language learners, spread teachers' expertise to anyone, anywhere around the world, offer multimedia and private lessons for English (for the time being; other languages will be added soon), utilize text, voice and video, use the wisdom of crowds to answer language questions, share free open-source language learning materials and recommend other resources on the web. More than 500,000 users from over 200 countries speaking more than 100 languages, 4,700 teachers and tutors, more than 3,200 files to download and over 500 links to language resources, all testify to the need for language learning internationally and the inevitable success of the website's undertaking.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

IRC-Galleria - Finland

Founded in December 2000, IRC-Galleria is the largest social networking website in Finland. The primary goal of the highly-localized website is to create a photo gallery for users of the Internet Relay Chat (IRC). Membership is free and open to Finnish-speaking users 12 years and older. Features of this online community include a photo gallery (per regular or VIP user profile with at least one accepted image; different account types also indicate the number of images allowed), short messages, comments, and communities (at most 100 communities per user) which are representations of actual IRC channels. Russia, Estonia and Germany are also countries IRC-Galleria operates in. As of 2009, the website reported over 9 million images and 500,000 registered users, 90% of whom are active on a weekly basis.


Friday, March 5, 2010

imeem - US

Imeem was a very popular social media service where registered users were able to upload and share music and music videos, using streaming tools and playlists. The engineering team behind imeem came mostly from former file-sharing giant Napster. It was the first ever advertising-supported music model for online music. Users were able to freely and legally upload, stream and share music and music playlists, embed songs and video playlists from imeem virtually anywhere in the web. Other features included the imeem mobile, an internet radio product, and three different imeem VIP premium services mostly pertaining to the amount and full streaming of songs permitted to upload per year. As of December 2009, imeem is now part of MySpace with undergoing operations to restore all user-generated content to their full capacity.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Ibibo - India

Standing for iBuild - iBond, ibibo is an Indian social networking website, born from the joint venture of a South African electronic media company and a Chinese Internet company. Under an umbrella of electronic media products, ibibo flourished to emerge as a fast growing, social games based social networking platform. Registered members can connect and interact through various forms of social gaming and contesting genres. Features include Sawaal Questions and Answers, blogs, user generated photos with unlimited photo storage, videos, mobile, free sms service, role playing and live multi-player games, contests, email, messenger, polls and surveys. There is even an ibibo tool to help aspiring models promote their portfolios within the network. In 2009, Business Week named ibibo as one of world’s top 50 technology start ups.

Social networks comprehensive list (work in progress).

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Hyves - The Netherlands


Hyves is a social networking website that was created and gained enormous popularity in The Netherlands. It's a typical online community with free registration focusing on keeping in touch with existing friends and making new ones. Features include among others personalized pages with user-generated content, such as photos, videos, flash and custom layouts. The website achieved so much popularity that it's not uncommon to find Dutch politicians becoming members and singers promoting themselves through personal pages. As of August 2009, Hyves claimed to have over 9 million users, among them more than one-third of the entire population of The Netherlands.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Hospitality Club - Germany

The Hospitality Club is an international internet-based organization with approximately 553,000 members in 226 countries. Unlike any other social networking projects, the sole purpose of the club is to provide hospitality services, coordinating accommodation and providing guidance to travelers around the world. The organization is open to anybody and registration is free. No money is involved at any stage of the exchange of accommodation, and conditions are sorted beforehand, such as duration of stay, food provided for free, for a fee or not at all, travel-related guidance etc. The main security measure is reputation-building and commenting by host and guest is encouraged. A popular feature is the travel guide forums and wikis. It is remarkable the the club is based on the work of hundreds of volunteers globally.