For a guide to social networking in Appropedia, see Appropedia:Networking.
Some sustainability/activist/development sites offer social networking - some as a sideline, some as fundamental to what they do. These include:
- Idealist.org (what are the aims? Personal encouragement, inspiration? helping to connect with local people in the real world? Complements are attempts to duplicate existing networks?)
- Nabuur.com - online volunteering to help poor villages.
- Omidyar Network - aims "enable individual self-empowerment on a global scale," employing "business as a tool for social good."
- OAN - focused on sharing and rating designs.
There is also NetSquared, a project of TechSoup.org, which aims to "spur responsible adoption of social web tools by social benefit organizations." So it
Some sites which are primarily about social networking also have groups focused on sustainability or development issues:
- Ning - the requirement to be invited in to most groups before even reading them appears to be a major hindrance to growth. Most (all?) of the networks here are very small.
- CouchSurfing - an active community with many idealistic members, this includes discussion groups on topics such as global warming. These discussions largely aren't very focused and haven't taken off.
Some blogs and forums develop active networks, though they don't have many of the advanced features of social networking sites.
- Livejournal - note the active group of LJ people on Global Nomads, and who comment on Pyjama Samsara.
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Appropedia's approach is somewhat flexible, and mainly uses the wiki and Forums.
This approach is to focus on:
- building a useful resource (the wiki itself)
- helping people to connect through userpages and userboxes, which help people find users by interest.
- encouraging collaboration in whatever form users want.