August 3, 2008

Social Networking for Jewelry Designers by Robyn Hawk

I can’t believe I said that I would do this – don’t think that this is the definitive list of social networks because I really don’t think that can be done!

I am starting with a short list of the social networks that are geared to Jewelry or Crafters:

ArtMetal - social networking for the metal arts

IndiePublic - Indiepublic is an independent art and design community.

Deviant Art - Join the largest art community in the world!

MetalChasers - Metalchasers is a NEW social network for Jewelry and Metal Artists.

However – let me encourage you to reach out and network on other levels – especially those of you that sell and have websites or shops. While chatting with folks we relate to is more comfortable – you need to step out of your comfort zone (a fellow jeweler is not likely to purchase your goods).

Join more open groups and add folks to your friends groups that just sound fun! On, for instance,

MySpace – what about looking up Comedians – if they are on stage they may be looking for something fun to wear! Almost any performer, comedy, music, etc. will friend you just to get their name out there - so maybe we should take a page from their book. You can post a photo in their comments of a piece of jewelry with your "Thanks for the Add!" note.

Badoo - 15,000,000 users : Badoo is a multi-lingual, London based, social networking website. It offers users the ability to connect with people at a local and global level, allowing them to share photos and videos, create "reportages" of their lives, and promote themselves and their work. Their "philosophy," which they have trademarked, is I am here.

Launched in May 2006 (although the URL existed as a web portal since 2003), the site now has over 12 million registered users, and is one of the top 100 visited sites on the net, according to Alexa Internet. It is also one of the top ten community websites in Europe. In September 2007, Badoo re-launched the site, promising users "upgraded features and innovative new tools."
Unlike other social networking services, Badoo does not incorporate advertising in any part of the site, thus a user's profile contains only user-generated content. It generates income through a "Rise Up" feature which allows users to pay to have their profile given more prominence on the site for a limited time. 20% of Badoo's 12.5 million users access this function once a month.

Bebo - 40,000,000 users: Bebo is a popular social networking website, founded in January 2005. It can be used in many countries including Ireland, Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom, New Zealand and Australia. A Polish version was launched recently, which uses a different user database. There are plans for French, German and other versions. Founded by husband and wife Michael and Xochi Birch, Bebo had a major relaunch in July 2005. It was bought by AOL on March 13, 2008 for $850m (£417m).
"Bebo" is a backronym for "Blog early, blog often"

EONS - We're the online community for BOOMers! A social network for the over 50 generation, with groups to join, games and social connections.

Facebook - 115,000,000 users: Users can join networks organized by city, workplace, school, and region to connect and interact with other people. People can also add friends and send them messages, and update their personal profile to notify friends about themselves. The website's name refers to the paper facebooks depicting members of a campus community that some American colleges and preparatory schools give to incoming students, faculty, and staff as a way to get to know other people on campus.

Mark Zuckerberg founded Facebook while still a student at Harvard University. Website membership was initially limited to Harvard students, but was expanded to other colleges in the Ivy League. It later expanded further to include any university student, then high school students, and, finally, to anyone aged 13 and over. Peter Thiel was the first person to fund the company, with an initial investment of US$500,000. Features include a Wall for posting messages and Photos for uploading digital photos. The website has more than 80 million active users worldwide.

Multiply - 9,000,000 users: is a social networking service with an emphasis on allowing users to share media - such as photos, videos and blog entries - with their "real-world" network. The website was launched in March 2004 and is privately held with backing by VantagePoint Venture Partners, Point Judith Capital, Transcosmos, and private investors. Multiply has over 9 million registered users.

On Multiply, a user's network is made up of their direct contacts, as well as others who are closely connected to them through their first-degree relationships. Additionally, users are encouraged to specify the nature of their relationship with one another, making it possible to share content with their entire network of closely-related people, or subsets thereof including friends, family, professional contacts, and so on.

MySpace - 110,000,000 users:

MySpace is a popular social networking website offering an interactive, user-submitted network of friends, personal profiles, blogs, groups, photos, music and videos for teenagers and adults internationally. Its headquarters are in Beverly Hills, California, USA, where it shares an office building with its immediate owner, Fox Interactive Media; which is owned by News Corporation, which has its headquarters in New York City.
The company employs 300 staff and does not disclose revenues or profits separately from News Corporation. The 100 millionth account was created on August 6, 2006 in the Netherlands and a news story claimed 106 million accounts on September 8, 2006, and the site reportedly attracts 230,000 new registrations per day.

Ning - The unique feature of Ning is that anyone can create their own custom social network for a particular topic or need, catering to specific audiences. Currently, Ning has two primary business models. One allows users to create a network for free, in exchange for the network hosting ads that Ning supplies. The other, their "Ning for Business" option, offers users a network where they control the ad content (or lack thereof), in exchange for a monthly fee. A few other premium services such as extra storage and bandwidth and non-Ning URLs are also available for additional monthly fee.

According to TechCrunch, adoption of Ning has not been as widespread as the company had hoped. It requires a knowledge of web programming, lacks the scalability of an open API, and can only be hosted on Ning's servers. After hitting 100,000 social networks, TechCrunch revised its forecast and Ning has been called "fast-growing". Currently, Ning hosts more than 275,000 networks. There are several jewelry oriented networks on Ning!

Twitter - Twitter is a free social networking and micro-blogging service that allows users to send updates (otherwise known as tweets) which are text-based posts of up to 140 characters in length.

Updates are displayed on the user's profile page and delivered to other users who have signed up to receive them. The sender can restrict delivery to those in his or her circle of friends (delivery to everyone being the default). Users can receive updates via the Twitter website, instant messaging, SMS, RSS, email or through an application such as Twitterrific or Facebook.

Xanga - 40,000,000 users: Xanga's origins can be traced back to 1999, when it began as a site for sharing book and music reviews. It now has an estimated 40 million users worldwide. As of May 24, 2008, Alexa Internet ranked Xanga as the 231st most visited site on the Internet. All Xanga members receive a "Xanga Site", a web site made up of a weblog, a photoblog, a videoblog, an audioblog, a "Pulse" (mini-blog), and a social networking profile. Members also have the option of joining or making blogrings "groups".

Yelp! - operates a social networking, user review, and local search web site of the same name, combining features from traditional Internet yellow pages sites such as, local city guide sites such as Citysearch and Metromix, and community-oriented social media sites like Facebook and Myspace. As of July 2008, over 3.4 million people access the Yelp web site each month, putting it in the top 500 of U.S. Internet web sites.

Business Networking

LinkedIn - 24,000,000 users: is a business-oriented social networking site founded in December 2002 and launched in May 2003 mainly used for professional networking. As of December 2007, its site traffic was 3.2 million visitors per month, up 485% from the end of 2006.As of May 2008, it had more than 24 million registered users, spanning 150 industries.

The purpose of the site is to allow registered users to maintain a list of contact details of people they know and trust in business. The people in the list are called Connections. Users can invite anyone (whether a site user or not) to become a connection.

This list of connections can then be used in a number of ways:

*A contact network is built up consisting of their direct connections, the connections of each of their connections (termed second degree connections) and also the connections of second degree connections (termed third degree connections). This can be used to gain an introduction to someone you wish to know through a mutual, trusted contact.

*It can then be used to find jobs, people and business opportunities recommended by someone in one's contact network.

*Employers can list jobs and search for potential candidates.

*Job seekers can review the profile of hiring managers and discover which of their existing contacts can introduce them.

Plaxo - 20,000,000 users:

Plaxo is an online address book and social networking service founded by Napster co-founder Sean Parker, Minh Nguyen and two Stanford engineering students, Todd Masonis and Cameron Ring. Plaxo, based in Mountain View, California, is currently privately held and supported by venture capital including funds from Sequoia Capital. On May 14, 2008, Plaxo reported it had signed an agreement to be acquired by Comcast. Plaxo did not disclose the terms of the deal. In May 2008, the website reported 20 million users.

Plaxo provides automatic updating of contact information. Users and their contacts store their information on Plaxo's servers. When this information is edited by the user, the changes appear in the address books of all those who listed the account changer in their own books. Once contacts are stored in the central location, it is possible to list connections between contacts and access the address book from anywhere.

Social Networking - the next generation...

Virb – A place that lets you put all of the things that make you – you! photos, videos, blogs – in one place. So you can find friends (and friends can find you). More specifically, VIRB° is our vision of a social community - done right. A website that combines you, your interests, your friends and the things you like with music, art, fashion, film and more. Stay connected with your friends. Find new music. View and upload good

Trig – How many days have you spent wailing about horrid MySpace profiles.. A community for creative people with images, blogs, music, trends, etc. Yeah, we could say all that. But what we really imagine is a place where people like their music loud, their opinions edgy and their life brave.

Pownce -. Taking the Twitter recipe and perfecting it, Pownce added some of its own flavor to the mix, and one of the features we really like about it are skins. Don’t get us wrong, Pownce looks nice to begin with, but having the option to change the skins is a big plus. Currently, the only beef we have with this feature is the fact that the available amount of skins is so small: only four. Give us more!

Beautiful Society - With a name like that, one would expect beautiful design and Beautiful Society delivers. The site revolves around the concept of "favorite things" - users get to pick things they like, which become separate entities that get more votes and rise the rank of popularity as more and more users add them to the list. All this is wrapped in a nice orange/blue design with a lot of rounded corners and nothing to upset our sensitive eyes.

Humble Voice - HumbleVoice is yet another community for designers, artists and musicians, and it looks gorgeous. Page real estate is used generously, with most images on the site being really large, and all of the content is wrapped up in neat little boxes. This site has a beautiful presentation and seems to be a hit already.

Yahoo! Mash - (this is invite only right now while in Beta testing) The twist to Mash is that not only can you customize your page and add modules, you can also edit your friends’ pages (with their permission). That means if you were my friend, you would be able to pimp my profile and ‘Mash Pet’, move and add modules on my page, contribute to my ‘about me’ and ‘my stuff’, and vice versa. But again, this is only if I let you (These permissions can be edited in your "Settings").
Anyway, here are some pointers: keep an eye on your revision history because it keeps track of all the activity that occurs on your profile. If you ever get to your profile and wonder, "What happened? Who changed so-and-so?", go to this page. (You can ‘reject’ revisions if you don’t like them, and it will be as though they never happened). The y!mash logo at the top left hand corner links to your homepage, and this is where all your friend requests will be. (On Mash, people can also ‘suggest’ friends for you, too). If you had a Yahoo! 360 page then you may have a Mash page already!

Bright Kite - is location-based social networking - you can discover who visits your favorite places. Join the community in real time. Track your friends - See where your friends are and what they're up to, in real time. With the addition of "People Near Me" feature we’ve made it easier to view, interact with, and meet the people around you. "People Near Me" will show you who is currently checked in near you within a configurable radius.

So now that you have a place to start - feel free to friend me on any of the following sites: