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How BlackPlanet Works

        Tech | Social Networks

Using BlackPlanet
A screenshot of the Style section of BlackPlanet.com.
A screenshot of the Style section of BlackPlanet.com.
Courtesy BlackPlanet

BlackPlanet is a mélange of play, work and social interaction. Its ultimate goal is to bring people together, based generally on common interests. The site maintains channels -- subsections of the site -- based on broad categories, like music, photography, video and style. BP members congregate at these community areas, increasing the possibility of two perfect strangers meeting one another online, which, of course, is the entire point of social networking.

For example, a person on the Dating channel can see the pages of other members. A member who has a hopeless attraction to Ms_ Lady111982 can let her know by sending a message. The slightly less imaginative member can use the "Send Crush" tool, which creates a note through choices made from a drop-down menu ("I like your: hair/eyes/aura"). For coy members, BlackPlanet also features a "Secret Admirer" tool that alerts a potential mate that another member is interested and offers five chances to guess who the admirer may be.

The Dating channel is merely one example of BlackPlanet's scope. The site isn't entirely based on dating and personal encounters, although they make up a substantial portion of the site. Ultimately, BlackPlanet can be divided into two categories: business and pleasure. Business-minded members can network with one another in the Professionals channel. Members seeking jobs can browse openings posted by companies and upload their resumes on the Jobs channel.

To access any of the sections, however, all BlackPlanet members must first create their own personal page. Like other social networking sites, BP requires limited information, like the new user's ZIP code or country of origin. This information categorizes site members so that, for example, a user in Atlanta automatically encounters jobs or other members in his or her area first. There's also myriad other bits of personal information that a user can enter -- like astrological sign and relationship status -- to make connecting with others easier.

Since the line between business and pleasure is a distinct one, BlackPlanet allows users to create three separate pages: the main personal page, as well as business and dating profiles. The last two can be managed through the user's personal page, which serves as the vehicle that a member uses to tool around the site. A BlackPlanet member who's logged in might go to the site's News section, read an article posted from The Urban Daily and post a comment based on his or her username.


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