Friday, July 11, 2008
Designing your own social network
You've been around. You've seen a lot of them. You've joined a few (several?) yourself.
The so-called Social Networks.
Facebook, MySpace, Blog Catalog. Even Digg and Stumble are sort of in this category. Lately, of course, there is Entrecard.
You like a lot of things about these networks. They are helpful to bloggers. You blog because you have something to say and you want to share what you have to say. But you also blog because you enjoy OTHER blogs - you like to travel around and read other people's stuff, make new friends, interact. You also like to interact, sometimes, with memes, groups, and contests. These things are what makes cruising the internet fun.
What we do NOT like, many of us, is being told how to spend our precious fun-time on the computer. We don't like being compelled, for example, to drop cards on many, many blogs every day of our lives. Also, we don't like to be treated like fresh meat for the huge spammers like Yahoo and Microsoft and so many more. This is why MySpace has failed and it is also the direction that Face Book is headed.
What to do?
Put yourself in charge. Learn from the mistakes of others who have started Social Networks. In the previous post, I asked you what you liked and disliked about Entrecard. I wasn't surprised to learn those things were the exact same as my own likes and dislikes. And we talked in the comments a little bit about Blog Catalog. But there is a pattern we all can see.
Please briefly describe in a comment (or not so briefly, I don't care), what the main points you would include in your own Social Network, if you were starting a new one up today. What are people REALLY looking for? Why do they want to join in the first place? What would you have to offer in order for it to be fun? I am going to make a comment myself to list the things I personally would want. At the top of the list, I think, will be "Meeting new interesting people and keeping in touch with my friends."
But there would be more, wouldn't there? Much more. Help me produce a prototype. I'm serious here. I hope I can hear again from Claire and Chica and EttaRose and a., and you others who have been around the blogosphere a lot, and you know what you like, and you know what turns you off. Please consider giving input on what the design of a really good social network would look like.