Social Networking Not Close to Death
Alex Krupp, whose blog I haven’t come across before, makes a lot of sense in his latest post about social networking (which is fitting, since his blog is called Sensemaking). He notes that the term “social network” has become so over-sold that it now causes many venture capitalists to run screaming in the opposite direction, and startups are pitching their businesses in cliched Hollywood movie terms: It’s like MySpace meets Flickr, or Facebook meets Pornotube.
All of which is true, of course. But as Alex points out, that doesn’t mean the concept of social networking is dead or lifeless — not by any means.
To me, the desire for some kind of connection with others, whether based on shared interests or location or both, is one of the most powerful forces around — so powerful that social networks are actually outdrawing online porn, if you can believe that. And Alex also notes that MySpace and Facebook and YouTube their ilk have only scratched the surface of what is possible, and each one focuses on a very different piece of the puzzle: Facebook is much more an instant-messaging and photo model, while MySpace is music oriented, LinkedIn is business contacts, etc.
Not only is the power of social networks not decreasing, I think it is increasing and expanding, and that can be seen in the growth of youth networks such as Gaia Online (which I wrote about here), Neopets, Webkinz and so on. And the draw of an online network seems to be pretty strong in Toronto: according to this post by Ryan Keeley, Torontonians are — per capita — much bigger users of Facebook than residents of other large cities. Maybe it’s the weather.