Thanks for your kind wishes, cards, flowers, prayers and thoughts over the last month. Tomorrow it’ll be 5 weeks since the operation. I’ve gone through so many feelings, emotions and heartache but have pretty much completely come through the other side now and looking forward again to what the future holds.

I have found some new sites (for me) which have been a great source of help over the last little while. The internet is amazing – the connections you can make, the people who can share their stories and can be supportive along the journey with you. It reminds me of how powerful online communities can be for people at different points in their lives. It encourages me once again how blogging, forums and the like are helping people communicate with each other all around the world and designing them is a worthwhile thing to be doing.

Aside from topic-specific sites that I’ve found useful, I’ve recently discovered Facebook. It is still practically unheard of here in New Zealand as Bebo is the most popular social networking hub, followed by MySpace.

The little designer-snob in me finds MySpace and Bebo so frustrating. The errors I get on MySpace are endless, let alone the number of clicks I have to do in order to achieve anything, the difficulty in organising my “friends” or remembering who on earth they are, the hard-to-read pages, the spam comments… need I go on? Oh, and privacy seems to be minimal by default on MySpace. I tried so hard to get into the MySpace world which others talked about endlessly, but I failed. I decided just to go there to listen to music, to search for a long-lost friend and see what they were up to if I was bored.. and that’s about it.

Bebo is similar. All the kids I know are on there and their pages are usually just as hard to read. It’s less buggy than MySpace, and seems a bit more user-friendly.. but I’m just not hooked on it. It’s scary reading messages kids are sending each other. I could find out a lot of info about people, without doing anything but read their Bebo comments.

Facebook, however, has such a clean and simple design. It’s easy to use, easy to organize your friends, great for tagging of photos (one of the only times I’ve gotten really into tagging), and privacy seems to be more important. So I’ve gotten a little hooked recently on Facebook. I’ve caught up with long-lost friends and enjoyed the connections via Facebook.

But is the design that important? Or is it the people? Or is it both? With people constantly saying “MySpace is so 2006″ when talking about Bebo here, I realised that it’s firstly about the people. Social networking sites fail without lots of your friends being on there too. But it’s also about being the cool place to hang out, a place that works, a place that is easy to use.

Facebook, the first social networking site I may just be getting hooked on using :)

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