MyReligiousSpace.com

A new social networking craze has hit the Internet: faith-based social networking sites, which have emerged as alternatives to popular, general social networking sites such as MySpace and Facebook. For instance, Xianz, which developed as a response to the loose behavioral codes on other social networking sites, explicitly markets itself as “The MySpace alternative for ...

601755_070522_naseeb_05.jpg
601755_070522_naseeb_05.jpg

A new social networking craze has hit the Internet: faith-based social networking sites, which have emerged as alternatives to popular, general social networking sites such as MySpace and Facebook. For instance, Xianz, which developed as a response to the loose behavioral codes on other social networking sites, explicitly markets itself as "The MySpace alternative for Christians!" At just one year old, it boasts 35,000 registered members and 500,000 unique visitors.

Shmooze, a Jewish social networking site, and its affiliated networks, have 200,000 members, and Naseeb, a Muslim social networking site, has more than 300,000 registered members. While they may not compare to MySpace's million members or more, their numbers in terms of both the number of sites and their memberships, reveal a growing virtual social bloc. And they may provide more than just "networking." Naseeb in particular frequently highlights the words "SOULMATES" on its home page, with an accompanying picture of a happy couple who met through the site. So apart from providing a virtual space for like-minded believers, free of bad language and obscene imagery, these sites can also be spaces where "Fairy tales do happen ..."

A new social networking craze has hit the Internet: faith-based social networking sites, which have emerged as alternatives to popular, general social networking sites such as MySpace and Facebook. For instance, Xianz, which developed as a response to the loose behavioral codes on other social networking sites, explicitly markets itself as “The MySpace alternative for Christians!” At just one year old, it boasts 35,000 registered members and 500,000 unique visitors.

Shmooze, a Jewish social networking site, and its affiliated networks, have 200,000 members, and Naseeb, a Muslim social networking site, has more than 300,000 registered members. While they may not compare to MySpace’s million members or more, their numbers in terms of both the number of sites and their memberships, reveal a growing virtual social bloc. And they may provide more than just “networking.” Naseeb in particular frequently highlights the words “SOULMATES” on its home page, with an accompanying picture of a happy couple who met through the site. So apart from providing a virtual space for like-minded believers, free of bad language and obscene imagery, these sites can also be spaces where “Fairy tales do happen …

Prerna Mankad is a researcher at Foreign Policy.

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