I posted awhile back about the different social networking tools out there.
These are web applications that let you create private (or public, though for educational uses I’m primarily interested in ones that allow you to create “walled gardens”) networks to share blog posts, images, videos, websites, and chatboard conversations. Vicki Davis calls it “educational networking” when it’s used for students and teachers to communicate with one another.
Steve Hargadon has also posted a list of many examples using this type of social network by teachers and students. Nik Peachey also has an excellent post on starting these kinds of networks.
Our International Sister Classes Project was considering using one but, for now at least, we’ve been using Edublogs for our Student Showcase. Ning is popular among teachers, but our district content filter blocks it (and they now charge).
There has been an explosion of these kinds of web applications over the past year. There are so many, and they all seem to so similar on the surface (at least to me), that I just don’t have it in me to do a true “The Best…” list ranking them.
Instead, I’ve decided to just reprint the list I made earlier in the year and add more that I’ve been “collecting.” These are the ones that I know of that appear to allow you to create some kind of private networking site where you can write blog posts, have chatboards, and share images and videos. If someone might be interested in doing a deeper analysis of them all, I’d love to share it here.
So here is Not “The Best,” But “A List” Of Social Network Sites:
Wiggio (Webware writes about it. It doesn’t appear to have all the features of the others listed here, but it appears to be extraordinarily easy to use. In fact, TechCrunch has just written about a bunch of new features it’s added.)
Big Tent (Mashable has a post about it)
Lefora (here’s a post from Mashable about it).
Another one went public recently and it’s called Stribe. TechCrunch wrote about it in this post. It might be slightly more complicated than some of the other web apps on this list, but it’s free and has some unique features.
Posterous, the blogging platform, has just launched a “Groups” feature that might be the easiest way to create a public or private social network on the web. Instead of explaining it in detail here, I’m just going to recommend you visit a TechCrunch post that provides a better explanation than I could probably write.
Phile is a new web application that lets you create your own social network site that can be open to the public or private.
Dio is a new interactive tool from Linden Labs, the creators of Second Life (which, apart from hearing from people with physical disabilities that it was very helpful to them, I have yet to figure out its usefulness).
Dio, on the other hand, allows you to create what is basically a public or private network that has a lot of interactivity. There is no shortage of social network sites that teachers can set up for their students to use, but Dio seems to have a lot more engaging features. Let me know if you see other educational uses for it.
It’s in beta right now, and you need an invitation to join. However, I received one seconds after my request. Here’s a their video:
Let me know if I’ve missed other sites, too.
Thank you for mentioning Webjam, already used by charities, students or brands to power communities with a purpose. Schools, teachers or students can use it to manage groups or better aggregate group activity like on http://www.webjam.com/branded_services/prototype. More examples on http://www.webjam.com/webjam/discover like charity http://www.webjam.com/luccaleadership
Thanks for including mixxt in the list. mixxt is used by clubs, students, brands, events and also whitelabel customers, who want a more powerful and completely independant version. At the moment we support the languages English, German, Polish & Turkish, but we will be adding more.
Oh, and one more thing:
in Germany educamps and quite a few other education related groups are using mixxt, including complete schools, student groups, classes, professors and events.
We appreciate the mention of GroupieGuide – the site is designed for ease of use, allowing a clean and professional site combined with more powerful collaboration tools over email.