Written by Katherine Hannaford
25 of the best social networking sites and services you should check out before Christmas hits
Christmas is a time of being with your loved ones, of focusing all your attention on them and sharing good times.
But what if you can’t stand your family, and would much rather be chomping your turkey dinner down in front of the green-ish glow of your computer monitor, instead? Good thing we’ve highlighted 25 websites you should sign up to before Christmas, so you’ll have many networks of strangers to escape to when your aunties start arguing about how to make gravy.
1.) Qype – have you ever felt so enthusiastic/loathing of a restaurant, bar, hair dresser or cobblers, that you want to tell the whole world? Now you can, as Qype is an addictive site that allows users to post reviews of any public service, rewarding users with prizes the more they post.
2.) Mallplace – not keen on braving the crowds of Westfield? Shop from the comfort of your home, but still get that shopping mall feeling, by walking around this massive virtual mall, with all the major high street brands, designers, and small indies all gathered under one URL. You’ll find discount codes and vouchers here that you won’t find anywhere else.
3.) Flickr – get revenge on your family and friends this Christmas, by posting photos and short videos of them arguing over the last Quality Street choc, and see what all your contacts are getting up to as well.
4.) Twitter – highly addictive, this micro-blogging site has the ability to suck hours out of your week, as you update your friends on your actions in 140 characters or less. Think of it as being similar to updating your Facebook status, but several times a day. Just try and avoid the Fail Whale (pictured) and you’ll be fine.
5.) Dopplr – heavy traveller? Tell the world where you’re visiting next, and see what your friends have been up to lately as well. You’ll also find recommendations for each city you visit, along with…how much carbon you’ve racked up along the way. Gulp.
6.) Blogger – continuing on the over-sharing theme so far, Blogger is a free service that allows you to set up a personal blog in under five minutes. Customise your blog to the nth degree, and become an expert on whatever niche subject you wish to write about.
7.) Fav.or.it – a British start-up that has been described as a ‘Digg killer’, Fav.or.it is a news aggregator, pulling in content from thousands of blogs. You can comment on the posts right there on Fav.or.it, which are then ported over to the original blog post.
8.) Stumbleupon – another news aggregator, Stumbleupon gives users the power of selection, much in the same way as Digg, with a simple ‘green thumb’ submitting an article to the site, which thousands of other users can discover, and in turn give a green thumb too. The stories tend to be very quirky, making for an interesting read every time.
9.) Vimeo – rather similar to YouTube, Vimeo caters for the art schoolers amongst us, with all the user-generated videos being of the more creative ilk. The bitrate and resolution is far superior to YouTube, and with the recent addition of 720p support, it’s for the more discerning video viewer.
10.) MyMall – just like the aforementioned Mallplace, MyMall is another virtual shopping mall boasting 500 shops and 36 categories. You need never be wanting for a shopping experience on a rainy day again.
11.) Tumblr – blogging for those who just can’t be bothered, Tumblr can pull in feeds from any of your online accounts, including Flickr and Twitter. Share photos, music, videos and text, and see what your Tumblr friends are getting up to at the same time.
12.) ThinkGeek – T3’s favourite online shopping haunt, the US store offers bizarre gadgets and geek objects including lolcat magnets, a recent purchase for our office. Sadly the international shipping is quite high, so buy in bulk to make your single purchase of a paper email pad seem more justifiable.
13.) HotUKDeals – a must-read for the current economic climate, Hot UK Deals is a forum for credit crunch-dodgers to post vouchers, sales info and freebies.
14.) LinkedIn – a social networking site for professionals, think of it as Facebook for suits. Entirely valuable for anyone who wants to network, it’s a brilliant tool for staying in touch with past, present and potential colleagues.
15.) Where Is Your Username Registered – not so much a site you sign up to, more a site that helps you choose a username for the aforementioned sites. Type in your name, or preferred alias, and it will bring up a list of sites that already have users with the submitted name, and those that don’t.
16.) Sumopaint – we have no idea how this site is still in operation, as it’s such a blatant rip-off of Adobe’s Photoshop, however that hasn’t stopped us from using the photo editing site when in dire straits. Edit photos just like you would in Photoshop, using the exact same tools and lay-out. Perfect for netbook owners.
17.) Qik – you can’t carry a camcorder every day, so instead take video on your mobile phone, and live-stream it to the internet for all to see. It’s a free application for a variety of mobile phones (we recommend using it on Nokia N95s), and is perfect for shooting videos at gigs, which are then uploaded instantly to a live-streaming site.
18.) 12seconds – a relative newcomer in the online video world, 12 seconds works like Qik, and allows users to live-stream video from their mobile phone or webcam straight to their 12seconds profile. As the name suggests, all videos are under 12 seconds in length.
19.) Del.icio.us – we’re assuming most of you use at least one computer every day, so you know there’s nothing more frustrating than bookmarking something on your work PC, only for you to get home and forget the link. Del.icio.us is a social bookmarker site, letting you take your bookmarks with you wherever you go.
20.) Last.fm – founded in London’s trendy Shoreditch, Last.fm is an online music radio service, which builds up information on each user, streaming songs to their musical taste. Create custom radio stations and playlists, and even listen to tracks on demand – all for free!
21.) Friendfeed – manage all of your above accounts and profiles on one handy page, which will pull in every footstep you make online. Use it to track your friends’ activities, and save hours of time and mouse clicks.
22.) Hungryhouse – a UK takeaway delivery service, you simply type in your post code or address, and a list of nearby takeaway restaurants appears. Search by category, and once satisfied, view the menu and book your order on the site. Sit back and wait as your takeaway order is then given to the restaurant, and delivered to your front door.
23.) Imeem – another media sharing service, Imeem has jumped on our radar recently thanks to the terrific music-streaming app for the Google Android G1 phone. Interact with your friends by sharing videos, photos and music.
24.) Joost – it’s been around the block for a few years now, and was founded by the creators of Skype and Kazaa. Live-stream popular TV shows legally, along with movies and music videos.
25.) ThisNext – a social shopping experience, users bookmark products available to buy online, and thanks to the tags applied are easily browsable with a quick search. The electronics section in particular unearths plenty of random gadgetry, and it takes only a couple of clicks to go straight to the shop to purchase one for yourself.
Hi. Good site.
Funny reading through this in 2010, things have changed! I started http://www.e-resistible.co.uk with some friends at university about a year ago, close to when this article was written, and you feature our competitor HH! Good memories!
Ummm none of da 1’s i want work anymore briilliantt (sarcasim) plz delete it of dis list coz sum of uz have limited internet time ere haha
There are so many takeaway online ordering websites now! we started http://www.the-master-menu.com and we have now seen several online takeaway portals fail.
Cheers for the tips!