Beyond MySpace: Social Networking for Good

MySpace and Facebook may meet most of your online needs -- but did you know there's a whole world of social networking sites out there dedicated to self-growth and social change? Here are some unique sites for people who want to make a difference.

Unless you happen to be an Amish teenager on rumspringa who’s never had the opportunity to enjoy the addictive pleasures of the Internet until this very moment, you probably know all about the gargantuan social networking sites, MySpace and Facebook.

Like many of us, you might trickle away hours of each and every workday watching videos, listening to MP3s, and leaving messages and profile comments for long-lost friends.

Those sites may meet most of your online needs – but did you know there’s a whole world of social networking sites out there dedicated to self-growth and social change? If you’re ready to venture beyond the familiar world of Facebook, here are some unique social networking sites for people who want to make a difference.

Visit 43things.com and you’re confronted with a question: What do you want to do with your life? That may seem a little tough to answer at first, but think about it for a few seconds and you’re sure to come up with tons of ideas. Want to go on a road trip with no destination? There are more than 13,000 people on the site who’d be happy to share the ride. Want to learn how to tie a cherry stem with your tongue? Oddly enough, you wouldn’t be alone – 657 others have put this one on their life lists. At 43Things.com, you can share your dreams and goals with others, taking inspiration from the network of fellow idealists – it’s a great way to make sure your New Year’s resolutions actually last longer than a week.

A newer social networking site, Zaadz.com, is dedicated to finding inspiration in the everyday. On the site, members can share inspiring quotes, blog posts, photos, favorite books, and engage in philosophical discussions. Each day, on the “questions and reflections” section, members can answer a question they may not have considered before – for instance, “What would make you smile right now?” If you’re looking to dive a little deeper into life, Zaadz offers the perfect opportunity for reflection.

Care2.com is a portal for conscientious individuals of all kinds, with over 7 million members whose passions range from cancer awareness to animal welfare. The site features an action network where members can petition for important causes, hundreds of online groups devoted to discussing various issues, a news network where members can share the stories that matter to them, and even a job database for employment opportunities that you can feel good about. At Care2, you can find a hundred little ways to take positive action every day.

Want to atone for your eco-hostile ways? You’ll find forgiveness at www.makemesustainable.com. When you sign up for the site, you’ll fill out a questionnaire that calculates your personal carbon footprint. Then you’ll be given a list of ways to make your daily life more sustainable, through simple steps like replacing regular light bulbs with energy-efficient CFL bulbs, biking to work instead of driving, and lowering your thermostat setting by a couple of degrees. When you pledge to take action, you’ll have the chance to join up with groups based on interest or location, so that you can inspire one another to stick with the program. Going green is tough to do alone – but when you’ve got a whole community to help you out, it’s a lot easier to lay off the excess energy.

Sometimes it can be tough to be an idealist in a world like ours, where sleazy politicos, hedonistic heiresses, and other denizens of the debauched life always seem to be the focus of society’s spotlight. But thanks to social networking sites like these four, even if your jaded co-workers would rather talk about Lindsay Lohan’s latest drug bust than the human rights violations in Myanmar, it’s easy to find a broad network of people who share your passions and want to help you make the world a better place – they’re never more than a mouse click away.

comments powered by Disqus