Another new social network/community site just launched: Faqqly. I like the philosophy behind this one. Founder (and yet-to-graduate UCLA senior) Dave Liu told me he's trying to create an "authentic community" with the service. He wants to make it possible to do "everything we do in real-live communities" on his site: getting to know people, sharing with them, helping them. He also has harsh words for existing social networks, saying that they're too me-centered: more about how you present yourself than actually getting to know others.
Here's how Faqqly wants to break the cycle of narcissism. The site right now is based on what you know, not on how you tart up your page. It's a community of information. In your network of Faqqly friends, you can ask questions (you can try me at my Faqqly page). Your friends see the questions on their pages (and maybe soon elsewhere, such as in their e-mail or IM) and can reply to them. Examples: Say I'm looking for a ride to the airport, a person who has clear notes from a class I go to, or advice on finding a rental or a job that my friends might be able to help me with. Faqqly is a medium for questions and answers (like Wondir, Yahoo Answers, and the new Microsoft QnA [closed beta, see TechCrunch link]), but within a social group. Questions that you answer get added to your personal FAQ, which your friends can see. Items also can be marked as "finished," so a dialog like "Q: Can you give me a ride to the airport? A: Yes" doesn't lead to confusion.
You can also add keywords under Ask Me About on your profile, to solicit requests. This feature could be used as a form of advertising for people who sell consulting or other services.
Faqqly will soon add a sharing function, Dave told me. You'll be able to list the things you have that you're willing to share with your friends (DVDs, books, coolers, old cribs, and so on), and Faqqly will let you check the items out and keep track of who's borrowed what. Dave's dream is that this will help people connect to each other in the real world, to do the actual borrowing and lending.
Faqqly looks like a community site, but its philosophy and features make it work more like Craigslist with a built-in social network. It's a good idea. Of course, it needs a critical mass of users (or at least the mass of users that you, personally, care about), and there are a ton of community sites popping up right now. So that's a challenge. Also, the site is very early stage, and Dave cautioned me that a lot of it is still in development, so I won't ding him on UI issues or missing features. But even at this early stage, this social experiment is worth experimenting with.