Social networks are a great way to keep up with friends, but it seems that only four of you are aware that refusing to have a Facebook isn't actually cool, or just don't understand what each site does. I've taken the liberty of making you guys a list of social websites that people frequent, and why you should give them a look. These are all free, unless otherwise noted.
If I forgot anything, or if you think you can contribute something, let me know.
Facebook is the big one. Everyone is on Facebook. All of your friends, your Mom, even your Grandma is on Facebook. It's a great way to keep up with friends, and even meet new people (normally friends of friends, not complete strangers). This website is, ironically, aimed at people that go outside and meet lots of people. Adding online friends is not uncommon on Facebook, but really though, avoid adding people with anime profile pictures. Those kids are weird.
If you're sitting here about to complain that you don't go outside and you don't need Facebook, you should know that lots of game companies (and other businesses as well) use Facebook to communicate with their customers, and there's all sorts of promotions. Gears of War 3 has an exclusive multiplayer character just for liking the Gears of War fan page. League of Legends did something similar with a character called "Tristana". Just having an account for these promotions is beneficial for gamers.
Also, you know how you keep forgetting your girlfriend's birthday? Yeah, she probably has it listed on Facebook. It also keeps track of when your relationship started. You're welcome.
Welcome to the most obnoxious thing on the planet. Just kidding, it's actually a FANTASTIC tool for businesses to communicate with fans and customers, and share news relating to their products. Following game developers on Twitter (@Notch and @jeb_ being very popular) often can bring you news on games very early, often before official announcements. "Tweeting", which is sending messages on Twitter, to these developers is also a lot of fun, as everyone loves gets mail from people that make cool stuff.
Outside of businesses, Twitter doesn't really serve that much of a purpose, those people love to be clever on the site. If you want to be big on Twitter, be sure to use a lot of hashtags, which are keywords. They look like this: #swagg or #cheatingwhore. You can search for these hashtags on the website, so if you want to see what people think of something like #streetfighter, you could search for that hashtag on the website and find posts from people using the #streetfighter hashtag. Twitter is great on mobile phones for news on the go.
Twitter is also free advertising. Many companies are investing time into Twitter, as social networking is a great, free way to advertise to a mass of people. They will literally share news FOR you. I mean, just look at @Notch.
It's YouTube, fool. Upload videos, watch them online, you know how it works. There is a community here, but it's pretty awful. Still, it's worth having an account to save your favorite videos and communicate with your favorite filmmakers. YouTube got Justin Bieber (and others) popular, and brought them great success.
Take Facebook, remove most of it's users, and make it not Facebook, and you have Google+. It's not much right now, and it really needs to be open. For now, it's worth a look, but don't expect too much out of it. In it's defense, it sets itself apart with it's "circles" feature, which are friend groups. Want to type vulgar stuff as your status, but don't want family to see? Send it to only your friends. Want your co-workers to get an important message? Done.
Still, it's relatively small, and it isn't worth migrating entirely quite yet. But it's still worth keeping an eye on, especially once the developer API is release.
Here's the Google+ thread:
Time for something a little bit obscure. Foursquare is a game, in a way. You earn points for checking in at venues, or really anywhere. It's a purely mobile app, but you can link it to Facebook and Twitter. It's a great way to see what your friends are doing, update everyone on what you're up to, or even turn your daily routine into a competition as you compete for "Mayorships". Mayorships are essentially who checks in at a venue the most. Foursquare is becoming more and more popular, so it's not a bad time to check it out if you're looking for something new to do on your phone.
There are also specials, which are literally discounts at random places for just using Foursquare. Chilli's gives free appetizers, and FYE gives discounts on merchandise. I know there's a ton more specials, but getting a discount for opening your phone (which you probably do anyway) is pretty sweet. Some advice: Don't list your home in the public directory on Foursquare. People can creep on you.
Foursquare is available on:
-And other obscure devices
Last.fm is a great website for streaming and finding new music. It's web-based, so you can use it almost anywhere. Instead of typing about it, I'll just link you to the Facepunch thread, which can be found here:
For reference, you can set up Last.fm to "scrobble" or share what music you're listening to on the website. You can link it to most media players as well, so you can share your tastes, hastle-free!
Most of you are already aware of Spotify. It's a free (or paid, if you like) music service that's supported by ads. It has friends list support, and can connect to Facebook. I have this listed because I believe it will become a lot more social as time goes on. If you're on Spotify and want to share some playlists, send me a PM! (I'd really like someone to make a good thread on Spotify, as well).