Thursday, February 21, 2008

Interest specific social networks

It is always gratifying to be proven right, especially when it is something that happens so infrequently.

For some time I have being whining about the way that social networks will become another standard set of Web functionality. To be honest I am not the only person with this story. My thanks to Rick Hartley, who holds the same views, for alerting me to an article in the Wall Street Journal on this subject. If I were you I would try the link soon, since WSJ is a subscription paper.

The short article is an interview with the ceo of Sparta Social Networks who build networks for other companies.

It is interesting to see the range of their clients. There is newbaby.com through to DesignSessions (a community for design students).

Now the question is this. Let’s say I am really interested in fishing (which I am not), driving (which I hate) and Amy Winehouse (who I detest). I am sure that I can find social networks for all three. Being an active member of each of these communities is going to weld me to my PC for longer than is healthy. So, how the hell am also going to get time to spend time with Facebook, Linkedin let alone eons.com.

Market forces, more accurately interest/enjoyment forces, will be the determining factor. I think the age-specific and generic social networks have their work cut out to compete. Dick Stroud

3 comments:

Jonathan Boehman said...

I think the general social networks have a place, and will continue to do so, particularly for younger folks.

The strength of general social networks is socializing and keeping in touch with friends, and are not primarily meant support a business or hobby interest (although you can take part in special interest groups on some general networks).

I think as people age they are less concerned with general socializing and being someone's "friend." People refine their friendship circles over time

I do think, as you say, that niche sites have a place...and they may have a stronger pull for an older audience who is more concerned with learning and creating symbiotic relationships than having a large number of contacts.

As for age specific sites like Eons--I think they have their place for people who want to socialize with other adults about adult issues. But they will probably never have the larger appeal of non-age-restrictive sites. I think the reason is because age-specific sites sites limit a user's interaction with others who have the same interest. Someone interested in fishing, driving, or Amy Winehouse is probably less concerned about the age of the people with whom they share the interest.

HR Marketer said...

I also share your opinion on social media and web 2.0 being mainstream. You might enjoy a posting I made on the subject in Sep of 2007 titled Web 2.0 and Social Networking - A art of Everyone's Business and a follow-up today based on a Business Week story titled Social Media Will Change Your Business

Mark Willaman
President
HRmarketer.com
SeniorCareMarketer.com

Chuck Nyren said...

Everybody is finally catching up to us, Dick:

Sleepy Internet Villages