4 Ways to Open Your Social Circle... Cyber-Style

Girl Talk

Website message boards are another popular means of connecting with new people, and they're used for a variety of reasons, ranging from recipe swapping to getting sex advice. "Asia T," an iVillage message board member since 1998, has used the site to make friends across the country -- and even in her own neighborhood. "I met two people in my area through Parent Soup [a division of iVillage]. One of the two women lives only three miles from me, and we went to the same high school during the same years! It was a large school so we didn't know each other then," she says. Asia finds striking up these electronic conversations is simple when you have things in common. "Aside from talking about parenthood, talking about my home business is a wonderful way for me to meet other women who are doing the same -- or for those who aren't doing home business yet but are curious about getting started," she says.

Where's the Party?

Evite.com is a site featuring electronic invitations people can send to their friends to let them know about upcoming events. The organizer designs her own invitation -- from describing the occasion details to selecting the background images. (The bright "girls night fun" backdrop is one favorite among women.) And the invitations are specifically laid out to save people time: The Web page's RSVP forum allows those attending to see who else can make it and, if there are things to be done or brought to the event, to visibly determine who's taking care of what. Evite spokesperson Kristen Wareham says, "One of our users started an Orange County Christian moms' group, and she says it's made her life so much easier to know what they can each bring to the gatherings and what they plan to talk about." The invites are not only a great way to simplify keeping in touch with people you already know, they also have a feature encouraging the people invited to invite new people.

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