Link: My Beloit Circle.
Edublogger Will Richardson recently blogged about Barack Obama's website that has incorporated Web 2.0/ social networking technology, and I was reminded of his post when I was recently invited to join my alma mater's new venture.
It looks like social networking is going mainstream a bit more as Beloit College recently launched a new alum feature called My Beloit Circle. It's sort of a cross between Linked In and Classmates. The company running this site also does it for other organizatons.
A couple of thoughts as I've delved into this.... first, I wonder how much time busy people will really invest in this. I've played around with My Beloit Circle quite a bit as I'm naturally interested in this stuff, but is the average user really ready for this? Secondly, I entered the feed from my blog into a field in my profile, and it's pretty cool how my recent blog entries pop up in a certain section along with posts from other Beloit alum bloggers. I noticed that I was the oldest person listed there by far and I'm only 40! Thirdly, it's really difficult to see who's registered so far because the search feature doesn't let you browse past the first page if you search by class year. The only other way to see if someone belongs to this online community is they are a connection of yours ala Linked In's style of networking. Finally, I think a really useful feature is group creation. Anyone can create a group for others to join and network within. There are groups for alum organizations in cities, for teams, and for people working in certain professions.
At any rate, it will be interesting to see how this online community develops. At the very least, it's clever to keep your alums tied to the school and hopefully, donations, too. (By the way, I haven't seen anything in this community yet regarding fundraising.)