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I know I occasionally debut some new and funky technology and ideas here on the blog. I appreciate your willingness to (a) humor me and (b) try them out from time to time. In my day job, I see and review more new media developments than you can imagine. But I typically only share those with you that I think are worth your time.

The concept I'd like to introduce you to today is called social networking. No doubt you've heard of MySpace or Facebook in the news. But what are they and how do they really work? And more importantly, of what use are they to Sherlockians? First, I'd like you to view this:

Social Networking in Plain English

So now you understand how social networks help us connect to each other. To me, it's basically an online version of attending Sherlockian society events. I know I'm in a room with other people who like Sherlock Holmes, but unless I can connect with them, I have no idea what their other interests might be. When I find someone who also shares my other interests, it solidifies our connection with each other.

Online social networks are no different. Just like normal conversations, you can choose to disclose as little or as much of yourself as you'd like and you can get involved with particular special interest groups as appropriate.

I'd like to invite you to join The Baker Street Blog group on Facebook - it's for people who enjoy this blog. From time to time, I'll be sharing certain newsworthy items with the group on Facebook. But more importantly - YOU can participate as well: upload photos, videos, write messages, join in a discussion. Over time, it can really become a nice extension of what we have here. Please click here to check out the group. You'll also find links to a Baker Street Journal group and an I Hear of Sherlock Everywhere group.

There's another social network I created on the site Ning. Whereas Facebook has a predetermined structure, I built the Sherlock Holmes Social Network from scratch on Ning. I've got feeds there from this blog, from I Hear of Sherlock Everywhere, Flickr photos tagged with "sherlockian," and I've created groups for WelcomeHolmes and Hounds-L members as well. But again, the beauty is that everyone can contribute and add their own content. It's a wonderful way to share what's on your Sherlockian mind.

I really hope you'll at least try these out and see if they're right for you. While ever-advancing technology may seem like "an east wind coming" to some, it heralds the future of the Sherlockian world, where we'll be better connected than we ever were.

Related post: the Illustrious Clients of Indianapolis come blazing into the 21st century with their web site.