Social Networks - we like to hang at with others!

When musicians get together in a room and talk about music, they learn from each other; they answer questions, they challenge ideas, they offer opinions and discuss the things that matter to them. An online social network is no different, except for the obvious! It's a getting-in-a-room together thing, without the boundaries of time and space. The room is now the world.

And just as in a physical get-together, there are the usual social interactions (often seemingly trivial) before you get down to business.

Myspace and Facebook are the most famous of social networks and both are of value to musicians on many levels. But you can also create your own social network, giving your special interest group it's own 'myspace'. I did just this for the music department at The Manchester College, bringing together current students, past students and staff in a way that was not happening (or possible) in the institution. The service we use is Ningand it's free and rammed with excellent features.
Join the site at ccmmusic.ning.com or watch this video tour.

One of the successful feature of the network has been 'virtual guests', where a professional does a Skype interview by way of an introduction then hangs out in the network for a week answering questions from students. Here's a video tour of a virtual guest.

There are numerous social networks based around music and musicians. LastFM and Imeem allow you to make playlists and these can be used to demonstrate a collection of examples or influences.