By now, some well-meaning friend has surely invited you to join an online community, for reasons either professional (e.g., LinkedIn) or personal (e.g., Friendster). I generally accept the invitations, if only because it seems a little rude not to.

Thus far, even the more professionally oriented networking systems have been of little use to me as a scientist. That might have just changed: The growing online empire of the Nature journals has started its own community, the Nature Network.

It works a lot like other networking communities: You can enter a personal profile, add links to your own publications, affiliate with subgroups of the network (like this one from the SENS Research folks), invite your colleagues to join up, and — presumably, someday — reap the benefits of massively parallel schmoozing, when a colleague of a friend of a graduate student of a former labmate realizes that the two of you should have started collaborating yesterday.

I’m still figuring out the bells and whistles, but I thought I’d notify those of you who happen to be scientists, so that you too can hop on board the MySpace of molecular biology…

(Via Partial Immortalization, where Attila Csordás has a detailed article on the features of Nature Network as compared to more established online social networking communities.)