The list of free social networking sites is growing by the year as this new phenomenon is sweeping the World Wide Web. Never before has there been the opportunity for people to so easily meet other from across the United States and around the world as today, with the advent of free social networking sites. These sites enable people to open up their own lives, including passions, life philosophy, likes and dislikes, habits, fears and any other highly personal information that they might want to share with the world. Many sites enable individuals to add amusements to their profile sites such as quizzes, tests, games, and links to other profiles. The networking sites become a relationship amusement park where people can spend hundreds of hours exploring the various lives of people on that website.
Social networking is the great passion of Gen Y, those who were born after 1977. For this generation, social interaction is an absolute necessity to being a complete person. The natural outgrowth of this need for being a part of groups of friends is the development of Internet arenas where not only small groups can continue to interact with one another after graduation, but can then become a part of larger social groups as life begins to unfold. Even business has joined the Internet community gathering concept, understanding its viral marketing potential. Many companies have begun to put smart and viral advertisements on free social networking sites in hope that the ads will be passed along to as many viewers as possible. A number of very successful ad campaigns have been run using that strategy. Some of the more interesting players in the free social networking sites arena are:
Bebo, a community made up of Gen Y participants who want to stay in touch with old college friends. While anyone can join, this is the demographic most likely to use the site. Bebo allows a person to build a profile using all the standard questions that most sites provide. These questions give a person an opportunity to open themselves up and allow others to get to know them in a personal way. Bebo also has a what it calls "apps" which enable a person to put games, puzzles, quizzes, celebrity bios and many other entertainment features on their particular profile, giving the visitor plenty of things to do while visiting that particular person.
Catster and Dogster, places where pet lovers can get together and share horror stories of ripped up underwear and hairballs. In these sites, there are only pictures of cats and dogs. There are of course anecdotal stories telling of the cute things the animals have done. And there are links to the animals' friends and their profiles as well. These specific free social networking sites must really be for those who don't have much else to do in life. Jesus said, "Blessed are they that mourn for they shall be comforted." (Matthew 5:4) This means that the person who is saddened by his sin and actually cries out to God for relief from its guilt and burden will find happiness.
Face book is one of the giant free social networking sites and started out as one in which only those with a valid email address from a supported (registered) college, high school or company can create a profile. The latest statistics say that 85% of all college students use Face book in one form or another. This site has recently relaxed its membership restrictions and allows anyone on the site. Its major competitor is MySpace, which allows more creativity on the profile space than Face book. This site is often harder to navigate through because profiles and their construction are not restricted as they are on Face book.
Zaadz is one of the most intriguing of the dozens of free social networking sites that are available on the World Wide Web. This web site is the brainchild of a Dutch philosopher and is meant to gather the minds of people who want to make the world a better place in which to live. For people who are interested in ecology, alternative health, spirituality and transformation, this is the place to be found. If the site sounds New Age, you are probably correct in that assumption. Massage therapists, makers of ecological friendly t-shirts, anthropologists, and dozens of other otherwise not related subjects find union and harmony at Zaadz. Zaadz is a website where capitalism is honored, but only in a socially conscious way that celebrates community before profit. The site has over a million visitors a month.
There is great power in the use of free social networking sites because the make-up of American society, while the culture may not discourage relationship building in communities, does nothing to encourage building them either. The pace of American life, thanks to technological advances, brings an ever increasing speed to everything, and there appears to be less and less interest or commitment to neighborhood community. As a result, a great deal of loneliness and depression falls on people. There appears to be an epidemic of island living, where we are untouched by the people who live around us in close proximity. While the touching in many ways is artificial unless played out to its ultimate conclusion of going and meeting people face to face, networking on the Internet does provide a semblance of caring and interest that was not possible before. Networking sites are certainly a step up from the nameless and emotionless text messaging that was social networking's predecessor.
Free Friend Finder ServicesThere are many free friend finder services that offer opportunities for users to make new friends and possibly establish significant relationships through online social networking. There are many reasons that a person may choose to join one of these no cost Internet sources. Some are searching for a pen pal while others are looking for a friend to share a particular interest. A senior adult may be searching for someone to share an activity with provided the interested party checks out personally. Christians may want to find others who will share in a prayer concern or spiritual discussion. "Delight thyself also in the Lord; and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart." (Psalm 37:4) The possibilities are myriad and the goal for everyone is a new relationship that is established on a mutual basis with someone else.
Most sources specialize in offering an Internet format for users to find the friend for whom they are searching. Meeting other people from around the world is especially easy at sites that provide tools for a user to customize his or her search. Through the use of profiles, instant messaging, photo sharing, webcams, and email, creating a public or private network is possible through some free finder services. The profile tool is used to create a type of informational biography by each user. A person can generally add or exclude anything that he or she wishes within the parameters of each particular service. Most free friend finder services have some guidelines as to what they will or will not allow to be posted which generally includes anything pornographic, threatening or inappropriate for the site. Most sites also either discourage or strictly prohibit users posting real names, addresses, locations, cell or house phone numbers, work places or other personal data.
Site owners are strict in the enforcement of site policies in order to keep their patronage safe as well as provide an acceptable environment for other users. Some free friend finder services require a submission of a profile for approval before it is posted by a new participant. Profiles are very important in attracting interaction from others. In order to help a person get started in writing a personal profile, many sites offer pre-set questions to answer. This provides a good overview for anyone who may enter the site. Most sources also offer a portion of space that allows users to post descriptive information about themselves through daily journaling or personal comments regarding things that have happened in their lives. This process allows visitors to get a glimpse of who the person really is and what their interests are.
Information such as what kind of job a person has, what kind of foods he or she enjoys, where a person has gone on vacation, what kind of hobbies are preferred and what a persons family dynamic is like, are just some of the info that is helpful. Of course, adding a photo to any written information is highly suggested since personal spaces that do not post photos typically do not receive as many visitors. Titles are important as well, so posting a catchy title line next to a photo is another important part of producing a good profile. New users that log in to any finder service should always check the sites policies and regulations regarding user profiles. Anyone who does not adhere to site regulations can be banned from the service at the discretion of the owner.
Instant messaging is a particularly helpful tool in getting to know others within the online community. Many free friend finder services offer their own instant messaging system that operates very similarly to other larger systems that most people are familiar with. The difference in these types of messaging systems is that only those people who are listed within that particular network can interact. Each person interacts through 'handles' or aliases rather than their real names. Again, personal information should always be kept out of networking services for the safety of the people involved. Most instant messaging systems allow users to ignore or block unwelcome hits, but allow the user to continue in conversation with the ones that are accepted.
Email is used quite extensively within most sites and can provide a safe way to get to know someone, although a bit slower than IM. Email should also be used anonymously unless there is legitimate trust developed between participants. This type of communication does, however, allow people to communicate without getting as personal as in live interaction through IM. Free friend finder services may also offer a search page that has listed the preferences for a particular relationship desired by the user. The search page is then used to find a match to the pre-set preferences. Searches can be activated based on just about any criteria a user wishes including age, sex, location, language, ethnicity, and interests. Finding a friend through no cost finder services can be fun and rewarding if a user follows guidelines and produces an effective personal profile.