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Published on January 5th, 2013 | by Elektra Q. Tion

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DerbySocial Review

Are you a fan of Facebook? Do you love all of the changes that have been happening with it? Most users of FB tend to use it because it has become the online default social network. I use my derby name on Facebook because I use it to find other derby folk and network online, which works for me, but it must get annoying to my non derby friends who are constantly inundated with pictures of derby injuries, questions about wheels, discussions of hockey helmets and posts about stinky gear. I do have a “civilian” page, but at this point in my derby career, it’s too much of a hassle to keep up with two pages. Why do I have to keep them separated? Well, let’s just say my parents aren’t 100% supportive of my derby career.

One day, DerbySocial.com popped up in my newsfeed in Facebook, and I decided to see what it was all about. Surprise! It looks just like Facebook did circa 2009, before it got extremely cluttered and full of events, timelines and game requests. According to the founders of Derbysocial.com, the site went up for Beta testing on November 4th, 2012 and was open to anyone to join November 17th. As of this point, there are 1,599 members from all across the world. Cursorily checking through the list of members, there are members from Guam, Brazil, Finland, Japan, the US and New Zealand. Derby has spread to places I didn’t even know about. Guam? Amazing!

The folks that started Derbysocial.com have been very open about their plans and what they want out of the site. We have been corresponding through the site after I posted that I was going to be doing a write up on Derbysocial.com for Derbylife.

“Well, Derby is growing by leaps and bounds, and we felt that it was missing a community-resource to bring everyone together to assist with information sharing, to help each league and team continue to grow and prosper individually; and collectively as a sport.

Right now we’re still working on getting a finalized logo in place and most importantly putting together an Advisory Council to help us steer the site in the right direction to be a proper resource for the derby community.

We’re on a white label platform*, and our current team has limited knowledge as far as coding goes, so we definitely need help to develop apps, expand or introduce new features and plan for server scaling as the site grows.

We’ll also need to pay for the costs of eventually expanding to our own dedicated server, advertising and growing our network, etc. So we’ll need someone well-versed in online marketing to help us in that area, as well as determining what method(s) we should utilize to cover expenses so we can afford to not only keep operating, but to grow the network and features as well.”

So, is it worth having a profile on there? Right now, DerbySocial.com is in its infancy. I think that the site has a lot of potential, but definitely needs to have more users. Personally, I like the idea of having a dedicated derby social site with just derby people on there; the signal to noise ratio is way less. My favorite feature is the forum, because I can see what kind of questions come up in our community, and as a derby blogger, that is a huge help. At this point in my time with the site, I spend most of it on the forums. As of this week, the trending topic is “how did you pick your derby name?” but I have enjoyed reading about drills and gear and new rules discussions. I don’t feel compelled to check the site as often as I do with Facebook, but that’s because Facebook notifies me if someone I’m friends with sneezes on there, or takes a picture of their lunch.

And that’s really the question, will derby folk add yet another social site to their repertoire? Facebook is such a juggernaut at this point; there are umpteen million derby groups on there, leagues advertise training opportunities to other derby folks on Facebook, and it has basically wormed its way into the very fabric of derby. Will people make the effort to keep up with it? I hope so. It’s a lot less cluttered than Facebook, in both subject matter and layout; which is a breath of fresh air, at least to those of us who are tired of having a list of recommended pages and ads running along the side of our screens. On Derbysocial.com you can make events, post polls, have discussions on the forum, and read different derby blogs. Honestly, it would be wonderful if we had our own online community, but at this point, it’s too soon to tell if it will catch on.

*A product or service, especially common in the in the financial sector, where the provider of the service purchases a fully supported product from another source, then applies its own brand and identity to it, and sells it as its own product. The purchaser assumes the seller is selling its own product.

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