It’s Whom You Know

For those who are hopeless when it comes to picking up total strangers, the friend-of-a-friend concept is the beacon of hope for anyone looking to meet new people. It’s certainly a lot less awkward and there’s the added benefit of having a mutual acquaintance completely exaggerate all your positive attributes. The Kevin Bacon Game, Six Degrees of Separation—whatever you want to call it—it’s this concept which social networking sites are based on. If you’re looking for love in all the wrong places, you might just want to bookmark these sites.
You don’t just make friends online anymore; you Friendster them. The first and still one of the most popular social networking sites, with more than 24 million members worldwide, Friendster is designed so that the closer you’re connected to someone, the easier it is to get to know them, which sort of works as a screen for stalkers as well.
The ability for members to leave their friends testimonials and the bulletin board are arguably the site’s most popular features, but it also delivers other impressive functions such as blog hosting, private messaging, the ability to start your own discussion groups and a large capacity for photo storing.
Browsing the membership base is pretty straightforward and, honestly, a little addictive. Whether you’re looking for anyone who’s into that band you really dig or simply for someone that’s just downright hot, you’re probably going to find them here.
The coolest thing about Friendster, though, is simply the fact that practically everyone we know—and everyone they know—is using it. It may be trailing behind a few other similar sites on a global scale, but over here, Friendster is still the place to get to know people online.
Formed in January 2004 and once considered nothing more than “that other Friendster,” MySpace’s membership has nearly doubled that of its precursor over the last year or so, with 47.3 million members all around the world.
While still relatively less popular locally than Friendster, MySpace certainly has made waves overseas, particularly among the more alternative crowd—artists, photographers, fetishists and even fictional characters have MySpace homepages. Looking for that certain someone whom you’ve been waiting for all your life won’t really be much of a problem if you’re cool with that person very likely living halfway around the world. Or potentially not even existing.
MySpace’s features are pretty similar to Friendster’s, but the main draw of the site is that musical artists from practically every genre are using its bulletin boards and blogs to keep in touch with their fans.
A real pain about MySpace, though, is that it’s practically littered with pop-ups. Even with our blocker on, some parts of the site send up to two ads at a time into our face. It’s generally as easy to work with as Friendster, but these distractions interrupt our browsing a little.
In the end, MySpace isn’t nearly as conducive for hooking up as it is for you to just meet people in general. But that still doesn’t make it any less fun.
At the other end of the spectrum, WhoLivesNearYou is designed to help you hook up with people a lot closer to home. How much closer, you ask? Try right next door.
Working in a slightly different way from other social networking sites, WhoLivesNearYou keeps you connected to others not based on who you know, but—you guessed it—who lives near you. We thought that this was a pretty interesting concept, keeping a similar vibe to Friendster or MySpace, but also incorporating a sort of kampong feel to it.
The site’s got a casual and laidback vibe. If some one-on-one time with that hottie whom you’ve seen walking her dog in the park seems a little intimidating, there’s always the Coffee Shop, the site’s message board function that let’s you get to know your neighbors through… well, coffee shop talk.
We were a little irked, however, when we found out that, if you want to send another user a private message or even view their profile, you’re going to have to cough up SGD$2 per year to be part of their Verified Account. Sure, it does keep out the trouble-making trolls and it is only $2, but considering other social networking sites are completely free, this was a slight turn off.
Some other features that come with the Verified Account include being notified of new neighbors, those who have moved out of your neighborhood, and even info on how far you live from your friends.
It may not be nearly as popular as either Friendster or MySpace, but, if you’re willing to fork out the cash, WhoLivesNearYou is quite an effective and relaxed way of meeting new people online.
Asia City Friends,
Yes, Asia City Friends is indeed part of our publishing company’s homepage, but hold those groans for a minute, OK?
Although it was launched only in November 2005, Asia City Friends already has a focused base of over 850 (and growing) members from all across the region.
The site sets itself apart from its predecessors simply by being much more Asia-centric. Sure, it has members from the US and Europe, but browse through the users and you’re going to find that the majority of them are our regional neighbors. Signing up with Asia City Friends means you can swap tickets to events, find a buddy to go out with or find out about events you can tag along to. There’s also a blog host, as well as a reasonably sized place to store your photos.
The website also provides PDFs to all of the company’s regional magazines, restaurant reviews (you can write in your own reviews and ratings), updates of upcoming regional events, as well as exclusive shopping discounts and privileges.
It’s still too early to tell how Asia City Friends is going to match up to other social networking sites, especially considering how steep the competition is, but it’s certainly off to a good start with all the essential features, as well as a little bit more.
It’s a bit hard to recommend which of these is the best to meet that certain someone; that really depends on what sort of person you’re looking for. Whichever you choose, suddenly Cupid’s digitally enhanced arrow flies a lot further.