Facebook, that is!
There has been reports on the immense popularity of Facebook in America, but it never occurred to me how different it can be to Friendster or other online community sites, until I finally tried it yesterday, when someone finally invited me to Facebook. It's the way the community is designed with all the third-party widgets and applications that provides you with never-ending possibilities of exploring the virtual community. Let me share with you how it could go on and on.
First, you create your own profile, afterwhich you can retrieve your online email's contacts and let Facebook search for your contacts who also have Facebook. Once you choose to add them, they will be notified to add you back. As they add you, they can create a comment on how you are related. You can then accept the relation or you can change the relation. For instance, a friend can comment that "you worked together", or you are both members of a club.
When they have accepted your invitation, they will most likely send you some invites to add some applications, like virtual pets, virtual gardens, virtual gifts, virtual drinks, online games, etc. And when you add them, you will be led to the application to customise or add other friends in your list. And it goes on.
For every action you do, Facebook captures it as a 'news feed', much like a history of actions. But the most ingenious thing that Facebook does is to update you, on your Facebook homepage, what your friends have been up to. They could either have updated their status (like "I'm at work"), or added some new friends, or did something to their friends (like commenting on their page), or added new photos. This update makes you learn new things about your friends and leads you to explore their profile. And in their profile, you see more information on the activities surrounding your friends. For instance, if your friend has a virtual pet, someone could "pet" or "feed" the pet and you can see the status.
As your friends list grows, you will get lots and lots of updates, and as you explore your friends' profiles, it might lead you to other friends, and uncover long lost associates or classmates.
My Facebook account is barely 2 days old. Mind you, I have not even explored other default features like photos, groups, marketplace. I am so convinced that it is a worthy and fun site that I got my wife to join too.
I liked the fact that Facebook involves you with your friends' activities and updates, unlike other online community where you have practically nothing to do after you created an account and added your contacts. Facebook pushes information to you regarding your friends - people whose lives you take great interest in knowing - people who means something to you.