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A buzz word over the past few years on the Internet has been “Web 2.0″ including the facet of “Social Networking”.  As a whole, the lacrosse community has not had much to discuss in this arena.  A few companies, sites and players had put themselves on exsisting sites such as Facebook or Myspace in order to take part in the scene of social networking and that was the extent of the use of these tools in our sport.

                       

What is Web 2.0?
The term Web 2.0 may have many of you out there in the lacrosse world confused.  What it means is the 2nd generation of the web.  It’s a move away from static information based pages of the past to more dynamic technologically driven sites containing functionality to allow user interaction, collaboration and the sharing of content, information and ideas. 

What is Social Networking?
Social networking is a place or community where individuals can gather who share a common interest, belief or hobby.  These social places often offer the ability for users to stay in touch and to keep tabs on the activities of each individual.  They also create a medium for users to express themselves in a creative and meaningful manner in which other interested parties can utilize this information. 

So now that you know what the Web 2.0 and social networking are…

When did these technologies make it to lacrosse? 
The origins of lacrosse in the Web 2.0 come from the forum based sites that started as far back as the mid to late 1990’s.  The sport of lacrosse has its share of online forums that allow users to register and express their feelings or write about topics in the game. 

The Web 2.0 lacrosse revolution made it mainstream in 2007 when a website called LaxSpot.com was launched by 3 former lacrosse players from Salisbury University.  The new age of the web was introduced to the lacrosse community through this application and would spread like a wildfire across the spectrum.

LaxSpot.com was the first fully based social network dedicated to lacrosse.  It incorporated the functionality of the popular social networks with the ability to add friends, join groups, post blogs, pictures and videos.  The separating factor, it was for the lacrosse niche only.   This was something that the sport had not seen before but could only be envisioned.

For the 2008 season, the National Lacrosse League (NLL) introduced a social networking tool on their site for their fans.  Not only could fans keep track of their teams on the regular website, but they could now befriend other fans and share their point of view about NLL topics. 

Also in 2008, the Warrior Lacrosse company launched a social network of its own on their site.  Many have brought up the question, why would a manufacturer launch a site such as this?  The answer is to keep users coming back with brand in their mind.  Warrior was the first manufacturer to use social networking as a marketing tool to get product information to the consumer, keep their sponsored athletes in the limelight while promoting their product and to keep the user base coming back to get the scoop on new ideas and products. 

Has social networking become too much? 
If you’re a proficient web user, chances are you are already a member of Twitter, Facebook, Myspace, Freindster and E-Lacrosse’s LaxSpot.  You may be asking yourself, “When will this end?”  Unfortunately, there is not an end in site, but things will get better.  Look for the collaboration of sites to include applications that offer sharing of roles.  This isn’t ideal for a Hamburger Eating and PETA social networks to do but it will work for networks where users tend to be redundant. 

What can we expect out of Social Networking?
You can expect social networks to be a continuance of existing sites well into the future.  For instance, with the acquistion of LaxSpot.com by E-Lacrosse, the process has already begun to integrate the social networking aspects into the everyday experience that you have on E-Lacrosse.  This means that you won’t have to be a member of the sites’ social network to see featured blogs, videos and galleries.  They will be available to all browsers of the site, but only members will have the opportunity to interact with one another. 

Both recruits and coaches have already begun to use social networking applications in their respective efforts.  A recruit can now join a recruiting network to post a bio, videos and other information to be viewed by coaches.  Not only can coaches use these tools to find recruits, but there have been major advancements in media based technologies that allow coaches to securely watch and distribute game video to staff and players alike.   This has been a growing trend in sports like football and has now spread to the sport of lacrosse.

How will E-Lacrosse lead the way in Social Networking and Web 2.0?
As stated above, E-Lacrosse has already made strides in providing social networking functionality through the acquisition of LaxSpot.com.  “E-Lacrosse’s LaxSpot” is now available for all our readers to join and take part in the online experience.  After a user registers, they have the opportunity to create and customize your profile, join or create private and public groups, view and add videos and pictures, chat, discuss topics on the E-Lacrosse forum, make friends, comment on media and much more. 

E-Lacrosse has also launched its new blog platform.  The bloggers on this site are actual lacrosse players, fans, coaches and players both past and current.  Our blogging site brings the reader real life takes on the sport and what’s going on with teams and organizations from around the globe. 

When all is said and done, E-Lacrosse has plans in 2009 to integrate its LaxSpot into the entire site to further promote friendship, collaboration and the sharing of the only complete lacrosse experience on the web.

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