What is it about big companies that they just can't understand what makes the internet popular? They continue to think that it's some sort of one-way broadcast medium (some sort of television with extra text on a computer), rather than a communications platform that lets everyone communicate with each other however they want. Yet, media companies still seem to believe that "interactivity" really means the very limited, and very controlled ability to comment on their broadcast content (or maybe click a link for "more" information). So, with the news coming out that Disney is trying to beat out MySpace with its own social network, it comes as no surprise that they're doing so in an extremely limited way. There are a ton of parental controls. Chat rooms are limited (at times even to pre-selected phrases, apparently). And, users will be unable to add anything "from the outside world" to their profiles. This probably sounds good to parents, but what's left is a social network that only parents will like. Kids will go elsewhere. Just as will happen as YouTube, MySpace and others are pressured to put limits on what content can go on their sites, it simply opens up tremendous opportunities for new sites to spring up that don't limit what people do. In fact, it's already happening, with plenty of new sites more than happy to attract users pissed off at limitations found on other social networking sites. While Disney is apparently betting on this new limited social network to be a big part of its strategy going forward, from the description so far, it doesn't sound likely to fare much better than Wal-Mart's attempt at a MySpace clone that was shut down after the only people who used it were Wal-Mart marketing folks putting up profiles of fake kids talking about what they'd bought at Wal-Mart.
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