Social Networking Hangover

from the um...-now-what? dept

As many, many people have predicted, there’s a point at which all of these social networking services become… kind of pointless. Everyone piles in, and “connects” with anyone they’ve ever emailed and then you get the big “um… what do we do now?” question. It appears that despite the early rush into sites like Friendster, the fad is losing steam, just as it did five years ago with It’s cool for a few months, and then you realize there’s nothing else to do. The various services are desperately trying to add on features that will bring back users and keep them engaged, but it turns out that the thing that seems to attract most people to these sites is the signing up and linking part – and after that, there’s not much interest. The article includes the interesting stat that, despite five million registered users, Friendster received less than 1 million unique visitors in December.

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Comments on “Social Networking Hangover”

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Rich Skrenta (user link) says:

Orkut == my new contact manager

I’ve joined all the social networking sites as they’ve come out. But Orkut seems to have crossed some magic line in terms of actually being useful. And it’s not facilitating introductions; it’s that I can set an ACL of “friends” on my cell-phone number, “everyone” on my email, and use it as contact manager.

There are the folks that I have personal contact with more or less regularly; but then there is a wider field of people who I have worked with, or attended a meeting with once, that would be nice to keep around on some kind of list on the chance that I might have something useful to say to them again in the future. Traditional lists of contacts rot though, and are also one-way, so even though you might be keeping someone else in the back of your mind, they may not be keeping you in the back of their mind. Orkut makes it a game to build up a wider pool of acquaintences, manages the symmetry of the relationship, and keeps the contact info on both sides fresh without much hassle.

Who knows where these things will go, but I find potential in a platform like Orkut to be a big white pages, and to have a lot of raw web-of-trust data that could be applied in other areas, like anti-spam.

Alex Moskalyuk (user link) says:

Hard to figure out what it would do for business

I got a message yesterday in Orkut that a person sent to the friends of friends network. She was looking for certain products to do a TV promotion and I think I might hook her up with a friend of mine, who runs an online store. If that turns out to be a moneymaker, there would be one possible commercial application of social network.

Another one is browsing friends’ friends and figuring out how to pick up chicks through the common acquaintances. Isn’t that what Friendster was all about?

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