Just what did everyone do in the days before Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr and all of the other social media websites that we use today? Can we even imagine a time when we weren’t worried about what showed up as a trend on our virtual wall? Believe it or not, the answer is, ‘Yes!’
It wasn’t that long ago when we were on sites that catered to our specific interests and hobbies or those that we had an affinity with. Most have a way for members to communicate either through a mail program or an instant messaging or IM system and in the days before we were checking Tweets and newsfeeds on Facebook, these alternative sites were where most people on the internet interacted socially.
Chatrooms, online forums, blog networks, discussion boards, email lists or listservs, and online virtual communities offer alternatives to social media sites. They may seem old-fashioned, but they never went completely away. These communities can become almost like a home in cyberspace where members can interact socially, discuss hobbies, collaborate to write stories do projects together, or simply have fun.
Here are some websites that are made for socializing without having to immerse in social media.
Second Life – One of the early pioneers in 3D online communities, Second Life lets users create virtual worlds. There are both free and paid options for the site. Many users have joined Second Life and found a way for it to make money for them by creating added features which members can purchase if they wish.
Livejournal & Dreamwidth – Livejournal is an online journaling site that features personal journaling space as well as various communities within its platform. Dreamwidth is a spinoff community offering a similar platform based off of Livejournal’s open source code. One nice part about these sites is that they are well-suited for long-form writing, which is often discouraged on social media sites.
Pan Historia – Pan Historia is a writing and roleplay site that has been around for more than 20 years. This quiet and self-contained port in cyberspace offers interactive and roleplay writing for various novels that range across every genre. Whether your favorite fiction is historical, fantasy, science fiction, contemporary, horror and fanfiction, you can find it here. You can also have a private novel or salon for just you and your friends.
Online Gaming Communities – Multiplayer formats in games have also seen the rise of communities centered on favorite games. One of the best known is World of Warcraft. MMORPGs let people interact socially as well as playing the game. Many run on Steam, which is the game delivery service most widely used on PCs. Steam also features interactive communities where users can “meet” and socialize online outside of social media venues.
Other sites allow casino games such as online poker, blackjack, slots and even bingo. If you are a gamer and like to socialize on the internet, you’ll like playing bingo online. One of the top online bingo sites is Bingomania.com featuring a variety of games including bingo, slots, and video poker. You don’t have to spend a lot in order to win money and you can get your winnings paid quickly. There’s even a chat feature for users who like to socialize while playing – just as they might at the local bingo hall or casino.