Advantages fun, free, social, personalised, easy
Disadvantages Occiasional dangers...
Myspace. Facebook. Hi5.
They are just some of the many social networking sites around. You'll find very few people who have not signed up to one of these sites and created themselves a profile! In fact, I only know one person who has yet to create a profile, and I find that is my mam (!). However, I find that nothing tops like Bebo!.
So what happens when you first sign up to this wonderful network? The homepage is clear and easy to suss out, even for a first-timer like myself! You can sign in from there, or click 'Register' and away you go. You are asked for various details on registering; First Name, Last Name and Email, as well as password. You are then sent a confirmation email. You do not need to activate this email in order to sign in, however you will have to do so if you wish to post messages and comments on others' profiles.When you sign in, you are met with a fairly boring page. The skin (the background to your profile page) is the original Bebo made one, white with a red banner. Nothing attractive about this at all, especially when you see that there is no photo to display yourself either! This is the perfect chance to 'Pimp your Profile'!
On the left hand side under the space for your profile picture, there is a little column of 'clickables', the first of which is Add AIM now. Signing up to this will allow a toolbar for Aol Instant Messenger. Under that is the Windows Live Hotmail link. Clicking this will include your hotmail address, which will indicate whether you are online or not (on msn). You then have the Skype button, which to be honest is used by very little people I know, and only some computers can support this interactive link.Now we get to the useful stuff. The next link will add a profile photo for yourself once clicked. You can choose from any photo on file, whether of you or not. I personally always have a picture of myself for my display pic, but I do know of some people who have images of celebrities or iconic images to display themselves.
Following this, you have the Edit Profile section. Here you will be able to share your life story if you so wish! You can change your name, and add a Tag Line too (mine is currently "Show me the stage!" though this can be anything you wish!) which will be displayed under your name. You can also change your date of birth, and there is an added option for hiding your age (which is good for the oldies on Bebo!), as well as filling in your Gender, Status, Country, Post Code/Zip Code and Hometown if you wish. Though these are optional.Then there is the big section, called Me Myself and I. Here you can write a maximum of 1000 words about yourself - not a lot really, is it?! Though never fear, you have seven additional boxes to write about your favourite things! Again both of these are optional.
In this section you can also choose whether you would like your profile public or private. If you choose to have it public you can choose the age range in which people can view it outwith your Friends list. You can also put in contact details, which you can choose who they are viewed by. However, I have not selected this option!Along the top of the page there are tabs, one Home, one Profile, and the rest to do with the modules on your page. Click Profile to get back to your Profile page, where we can resume with the links under the place where you should now have a profile photo! Now is your chance to change your skin! Clicking the link will take you to a page full of skins, with the most recent creations first. Here you can create your own skins too if you so wish, though it did take me a while to get used to this! Not all skins are submitted to the directory however all can be used for personal use when created if chosen! You can search for skins too so there is one that suits your category options too. I searched 'Love' to find the skin I currently sport. On search, the top ten skins with those tags will appear, and you can also click a corner of the skin to discover the artist. This is quite useful.
You can also change the modules on your profile. These are the things that are viewed. You can choose from Blog, Photos, Quizzes, Skins, Video Box, Groups, Bands and Polls initially. The Friends part permanently stays top left and the Comments bottom right. This helps you to personalise your prolile. As you add more items such as Apps (explained later), the more Modules available for your use.Now you have a 'complete' profile - your homepage tells you all about yourself, your Profile views shows and your Luv count (Luv is given through comments). Now you need to start adding people! You can send a message invite to all your hotmail contacts, or you can search. Sometimes though people have their names as, for example, Amy M, so searching my full name would not work so this can be tricky. Once you have added them, they will then get a request so they can accept or decline. If they accept then they will go onto your friends list and have full access to your page (unless you block them, of course!), and if they decline you will never find out! You can change your Top Friends, with a maximum of 36 displayed on your profile. You can also add an Other Half, which is simply another profile of a friend displayed on your Homepage; could be family member, friend, or true love! As your friends build up, the more exciting bebo becomes! There is no limit on the number of Friends you have either!
You can also customise the modules that come already too. In the video box, you can add URLs from Youtube to display your own videos, music videos or such like, which can also be played when you log in. The Blog is as it sounds, where you can blog your thoughts and keep everybody up to date! Groups and Bands can be made, one for groups and random Appreciation clubs, and the other for music. You will find there is a lot of official bands on Bebo, such as Same Difference and The Saturdays. On Polls, you can make polls so your friends can vote. People often do this to see which picture they should use as their profile pic. And quizzes - well, here you make quizzes for your friends to take - simple as that!Sending a message on Bebo has never been simpler either! You can write it directly onto somebodys profile where everybody can see it by scrolling down to their Comments, or you can click the link under their photo and send it privately so only you and they can see it. This is quite handy at times! You cannot however send Luv through a private mail.
One of the TABS at the top allows you to Explore Bebo. Here you can search for Groups and Bands , as well as videos and skins. You can also search for Apps here. This is what a lot of people enjoy bebo for. They truly help to Pimp your page and make it your own! You can add as many of these thousands of Apps as you like, from Big Photo to Stickers, from Countdown Timer to How Fast Can You Typer? (all of which self explanatory!). They are quite entertaining and do occupy you for a while! I shall let you explore the rest yourself!All seems amazing, but are there any downsides to Bebo? I'm afraid so, yes. Like any social networking and blogging site, you are at risk of a few 'dodgy' people hunting you down, and it is an easy target for bullies to thrive. However if you are concerned about these things just keep your page to private and you should be fine! Also, people tend to impersonate celebrities. There is one person who is saying to be Maddie Duggan (British Actress, Eastenders) and her page is so incredibly convincing! However I cannot be entirely sure so I shall not judge!
So, is Bebo for you? Well you have to be thirteen to sign up for bebo, but of course many just lie about their age! It is a great way for people to interact with one another; I have been reacquainted with many of my old friends I left behind in England! It can help develop your IT and communication skills, and better still, it's free and fun!
I'm always changing my link so I shall not give it, but if you wish to search for me, just type 'Amy Mcleman' in the search box at the top!
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