I have never been one for online social networking sites. My god how many are there? Wikipedia currently lists 106 social networking sites. I don’t know how many invitations I received to join Bebo, Facebook, Friendster, Orkut and the ever ubiquitous Facebook.
The never appealed to me because they seemed to insular - you post a pictures of yourself, maybe a blog and shout out to your online friends. The operative word being online. The fact is, even though my life revolves around being online and computer application development, I don’t want anything that will glue my arse further to this seat than I am.
However, I’ll make an exception for one site - Couch Surfing. Yes, there are some extremely fanatical people about this website, but truth be told, I have met some of the most amazing people. Yes, this website is about to get an unabashed plug from me
Couch surfing is a hospitality site - that is, if someone from another country is visiting you, why not offer them a beer, coffee and perhaps a place to stay for a couple nights? Its up to you how generous you want to be with place and time. Truth be told its not for everyone, but if you have an open heart and open mind you can open doorways to some incredible experiences! I basicially travelled around Europe this June - September meeting couch surfers. The worlds that open up when you accept other peoples hospitality is amazing!
This is what I think sets its apart from those other 100+ social network sites, Couch Surfing actually encourages you to get offline and meet new people!
Incidentally, I came across the site quite by accident. I am fan of Montreal band Branvan3000 and wanted to look up lyrics for their couch surfing song. This song actually inspired the name of the hospitality. And I even met my current girlfriend through couchsurfing… well here’s to serendipity!