My top 9 social web applications

Seeing my last few posts in this section have been a bit negative, I thought it was time to do a more constructive article. Thus I present you my social web-applications top 10 9, consisting of the services I use (sorry, couldn't think of a number 10) and my thoughts on them.

9. Virb

Virb was heralded as the Myspace killer. In hindsight, so is every new social networking website. The unique feature setting Virb apart is the free-form way in which you can modify your profile page. This was a really great base for extra features and new functionality, but the killer features never arrived. I still keep a profile there, basically to monitor it for activity. For now, it’s dead in the water, and I can think of no compelling reason to use the site.
www.virb.com

8. Del.icio.us

One of those applications I never bothered to use. Del.icio.us is an online bookmarking and tagging service. Which I never use, because usually when I’m researching something, I’m indexing those websites in a folder on the Bookmarks toolbar in Firefox. When I’m done with them, they get deleted. I have no need to keep an archive of links, especially as the Internet is so organic that a link you post now, could be dead 6 months later. Recently I did find a work-related reason to use the service, as I was building a link library of articles onmetadata and existing metadata-standards. This was to be a public archive, so Del.icio.us was a great tool to use.
del.icio.us

7. LinkedIn

LinkedIn is a business oriented social networking site, mainly used for professional networking. As of August 2007, it had more than 13 million registered users, spanning 150 industries and more than 400 economic regions (as classified by the service). I use it to have an up to date listing of people I know profesionally, the website is a very good addition to Hyves; allowing one to keep business and private separate.
www.linkedin.com

6. Flickr

A photo sharing website I resisted a long time. I’m not a fan of these kind of services, because it’s an American firm, you’ll never know what will happen to your personal data, your images, etc. People proudly dump every image they have in the service, because it’s easy and cheap to store them online. But I say, where is Flickr in 10 years time? I rather control my data in my own environment. Anyway, at some point the webdesign community jumped on the hype, and I decided to post some pictures anyway. In the beginning it was lots of fun, every picture would get loads of comments. But the hype faded, and the social aspect of it with it. A couple of months ago I killed my old account, and started a new one. With less “friends”, and mainly just to keep me photographing. Albums I post on my own site; Single images only make it as far as Flickr.
www.flickr.com

5. Waferbaby

The very first social website I used. Created by Daniel Bogan, it had an extremely lively community and a website containing all kinds of features ranging from collaborative art projects to book databases. The website has been on hiatus for 2 years now, and really left a void in my online experience. Fortunately, recently Dan picked up development again and is slowly reinventing the project, and breathing life in it once more.
www.waferbaby.com

4. Owensoft

Owensoft.net is the creation of a Jamaican programmer Owen Lewis. I discovered him through Waferbaby. Another great laid-back community, with great discussion topics and going strong since 2002. The Internets’ best kept secret.
www.owensoft.net

3. Last.fm

I joined last.fm when it was still known as audioscrobbler, back in december 2004. Didn’t really see the point of it back then; it only indexed my music. Until last.fm was launched. This amazing service completely changed the way I listen to music. Last.fm took my habit of listening to new music to the extreme. Last.fm indexes the music you listen , and builds a profile of your taste. It then offers a “neighbourhood radio” function, that allows you to listen to aweb radio station comprising of music people that listen to music I listen to, also listen to. I used to rely on regular radio stations for discovery of new music, I now solely use last.fm to discover new genres and tunes, as it gives me the entire musical universe as a playground. The social stuff is pretty neat too: You can listen to the music your friends listen to, or construct groups of people. The XHTML.nl Group Radio, made up of the twisted tastes of the irc-channel regulars is a great station to listen to.
www.last.fm

2. Hyves

Back in 2005 I reluctantly joined this Dutch website. There was a lot of hype floating around this site, so inevitably I signed up. At first there didn’t seem to be anything that set it apart, beside the awful HTML and Javascript, from the competition, but as with all social networking sites, the real features are hidden, and only show themselves when you become a regular user. It’s very easy to share interests, and basically every option you see in social networking sites is available in Hyves. A bonus feature is that Hyves quickly became the primary social networking site in The Netherlands, making it very easy to track down and keep in touch with old friends, classmates and colleagues. Other specialised websites quickly became obsolete. Probably the high point was during last parliamentary elections; when virtually every political party candidate created a profile on the site, and actively used it to attract voters. The website is actively being developed, and new features regularly see the light of day. Recently they have begun experimenting with API’s, and added support for external weblog feeds.

1. IRC

Yes, that’s right. One of the oldest Internet chat applications is my number one social web application. I always hang out with the guys in #XHTML.nl. We basically met on the Internet, and we often meet in public too, usually to go see some movie. The channel is often open as we work; allowing for work related discussion and generally blowing off steam. In my opinion it is a prime example of the importance of open communication using the Internet. Even when alone at the office, there’s always someone to share ideas with.