How to build your own social network

Reinventing the wheel has its downsides, especially when it comes to recreating popular Web 2.0 sites, but some media companies have done so with moderate success. Some great media-related social networks include myNBC, for fans of the Indianoplis football team, Sports Illustrated’s FanNation, and the recently announced Hulu, NBC and News Corp.’s answer to YouTube.

Danah Boyd of UC Berkeley has a pretty comprehensive explanation of the history of social networks which of course have millions of members worldwide.

But how do you start your own social network? Crowdvine is one of the simplest ways to get your social network up and running in minutes. Customize the design, pick some questions and you’re ready to go. Check out the Graduates of O’Reilly and Atlanta Web Enteprenuers networks for exmaples. Other social network building sites include the easy to use Ning and KickApps, which is targeted more toward web developers. See this TechCrunch post for a comprehensive list of social networking tools.

Not ready to take on such an enormous undertaking? Start small and integrate with an existing social network. Start with a MySpace presence or Facebook application and keep it regularly updated with fresh content.