On the intersection of technology, culture, and everyday life: My semi-updated space to collect and link my thoughts about interesting things I spot.
Even my grandpa has likely now heard of MySpace. Launched in 2003, MySpace hosts over 100 million members — enough eyeballs to be eagerly gobbled up by Rupert Murdoch. Starting slightly earlier, but growing far slower is the Couch Surfing Project. It’s 105,518 members, like MySpace and other social networking sites, feature personal profiles detailing each person’s gender, age, interests, musical/film/book tastes, and the kinds of people they like to meet. A key added detail is whether their homes’ couch is available for a wandering traveler in search of an authentic experience to crash for awhile. In 207 countries, members of the site can search within a 20 km/mile radius for a friend and home at their next vacation/exploration destination.
Perhaps the Couchsurfing Project’s slower growth is because its a nonprofit with member-driven development and no advertising revenues. Or perhaps the culture of connecting online is still fragile. Maybe it is easier to forge enough trust to buy a good, go on one date, and check out a band, then it is to lend out one’s couch with a pay-it-forward ethos. Regardless of its more modest uptake, the site offers a great window into other uses for social networking sites outside of promoting a band/film/product or finding one’s next date.