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Why Profiles?

At a party full of strangers, how do you decide whom to talk to? You might start by checking out what people look like, how they’re dressed, and the way they talk, gesture, and move. Perhaps you wander around and eavesdrop on a few conversations. Or maybe the host will introduce you to people with similar interests. At a convention, you can glance at people’s badges to learn their names and affiliations. And if you’re at a particularly cutting-edge convention, your electronic badge might start to flash when someone with similar interests comes into range.

Entering an new Web community can feel like walking into a party full of strangers: there may be a lot going on, but it’s not clear how to jump in. Just as there are different ways to meet people at a party, there are a variety of ways to get to know people in a Web community. Most people start by checking out a community’s gathering places (as discussed in Chapter 2).


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