Social Networking for Social Change

A new social networking site for teens called YouthNoise is built around teens’ desires to make a difference on social issues.

YouthNoise, a nonpartisan, nonsectarian, nonprofit organization, creates an authentic experience for young people ages 16 to 22 by featuring 100% youth-generated content. Content is organized into 15 easily navigated channels spanning War, Peace & Terrorism, Religion, the Economy, Tolerance, Life & Culture and the Arts with the ability to expand into any social issue the community chooses. User profiles are organized based on their cause and issue preference, which allows peers to easily search the network for other users with like interests.

YouthNoise was founded in 2001 by Save the Children as an online community for youth to share and convert ideas into action and improve the world around them. Since the original conception, YouthNoise spun off in 2004 and has spent the last two years evolving from an online community for youth to the internet’s premiere social network for youth who want to create social change.

By featuring only user-generated content, YouthNoise has effectively created a politically neutral media outlet for youth to discuss social issues and receive news, opinions and events through a familiar channel and voice that is devoid of gatekeepers and agendas. Each channel on the network will include blogs that host debates and allow users to upload photos and text to post along with their entries. In addition, YouthNoise will feature a showcase of user created poetry, art, and photography as well as profiles of projects in progress or completed.

The site already has over 113,000 users, and right now it looks like the main area for user-generated content is in the forums section, which touches on all of the topics and has a high volume of postings. It doesn’t look like the profiles can be personalized as much as a service like MySpace but it has a lot of potential.

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