Social networking on the Internet has found a new purpose beyond providing links for teens and professionals. Now families can use social-networking sites to bond and stay connected. Web sites geared to families — like Famundo and MyFamily.com — serve as safe environments for families to share calendars, photos, messages, games and more.
It may have started with Web sites like MySpace and Facebook — popular among music lovers, teens and college students — but now families are joining the social-networking phenomenon too and shifting the ways in which they communicate. Family-targeted sites provide an array of tools that make it easy for every generation, from grandparents to long-lost cousins and young children, to stay in touch.
Why Do Families Need Social-Networking Sites?
Why would a family use a site such like Famundo or MyFamily.com instead of Facebook, MySpace or a Google calendar? “On MyFamily.com, you have deeper interactions with tightly connected people,” says Sean Malone, general manager of MyFamily.com. “Logging into MyFamily.com is like coming home. Logging into Facebook is like going to a party. On Facebook, the loose assortment of people means interactions typically aren’t very deep.”
Far-Flung Families Connect Via Social-Networking Sites
“The stories from members over the years speak to MyFamily.com being an indispensable part of their life,” says Malone. “Many are stories about people ‘growing up together’ even though they are miles apart — grandparents ‘watching’ their grandkids from across the country. And there are stories of fathers and mothers in the military staying connected while on tour. Some of the most amazing stories are from families who’ve been through trying times (health, natural disasters) and used the family site to get through it.”
What You Can Do on Family Social-Networking Sites
Famundo offers a free site with ads and a paid, ad-free membership site for $49 per family per year, which also features more memory for storing photos. The site has a family calendar, an address book, photo sharing and a family vault feature for storing documents securely.
Myfamily.com allows families to store files, send audio voice messages, upload photo stories and family videos, and create a family tree with the help of ancestry.com. Family members can also start their own blog, customize the look and feel of the family website, and create and follow the family calendar. The most popular features, according to Malone, are the photos and discussion area. MyFamily.com costs $29.95/year per family a year.