Explode aims to make friends easier to find
A new Internet widget allows users to connect with friends from any social network.
Explode was launched on Feb. 18 by Curverider Ltd.; this is the same company responsible for Elgg, an open source Internet social network.
Whether users are using Facebook, MySpace, or even their own personal blog, the widget keeps track of friends from other networks.
Users can make new friends across any social network by simply providing the Explode widget with a list of interests. The widget then searches out people with similar interests across the Web, and users can add them to a list of friends, much like Facebook or MySpace.
“Explode is a go-anywhere global networking system. It allows anyone to include a distributed friends widget on their site, send these friends comments and keep connected,” according to Explode’s Web site.
The user can set up an account on Explode’s Web site by typing in an e-mail address and a list of interests. A line of code is then created for the widget display, which the user includes in their blog or social network.
This allows Explode to be displayed on Web sites the user chooses to include. Explode can be used to keep track of friends from any network or search for new ones.
Explode is a new service and there are a few problems still to be worked out.
For one, Explode’s layout cannot be edited in the current version.
A more serious problem is users cannot delete Explode accounts they have created. This forces users to keep accounts even if they don’t want them. Explode’s FAQs Web page said the option to delete an account would soon be available, but no specific date was given.
Privacy is an issue faced by every social network. Explode’s aim is to make finding people and their personal information over the Internet easier. Still, the user has the ability to adjust privacy settings for Explode accounts, just as in other social networks.
Ross Kenyon, a freshman integrative physiology major, said social networking privacy was not really an issue for him.
Kenyon, a MySpace and Facebook user, said he doesn’t have any information on his personal pages that he would not want other people to see.
Erin Steinke, a sophomore film studies major, said although people can use services like these for unsavory purposes, there are many benefits to social networking services.
“Sometimes the Internet can be a valuable resource for meeting people,” Steinke said.
She said Internet social networks can be used for business purposes as well, such as making connections for jobs.
Explode has entered an already competitive market filled players such as MySpace, Facebook, BlogSpot, Elgg, and LiveJournal. Explode’s primary function is to connect these social networks, but the actual need for the service comes into question.
Kenyon uses his MySpace and Facebook profiles to promote his musical compositions and to meet and maintain contact with friends, but did not seem eager to try Explode.
“I probably wouldn’t go out of my way to use it,” Kenyon said.
Steinke said Explode sounded like it could be a handy tool and that she would consider using it.
“I already have a hundred profiles anyway, why not one more?”
For more information check out Explode’s Web
Contact Campus Press Staff Writer Jon Swihart at firstname.lastname@example.org
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