This could be considered a “backwards” post. I tend to talk from the perspective of a user of technology, but I am writing this one for the point of view of people who might be seeking to build new tools, to join the social software scene. I love entrepreneurs, and I enjoy the notion of building new, amazing things. But I do want you to think about this space, too.
If you’re NOT building a social network or platform, stick around. I want YOU to tell folks your thoughts, too.
The Platforms We’re Using
I’m definitely not going to list out every social network and social media tool, but I do want you to understand a bit about HOW we’re using these tools, so I’ll mention a few.
- MySpace or Facebook – Not just for kids any more. The grown-ups I know use both of these services for roughly the same thing: connecting with people they already know and making some new connections.
- LinkedIn – Business social networking, and the top of the heap. It’s getting a little more interesting, because of their status stream, and the redesign.
- Twitter – Not everyone’s on there, but we’re more on there than Pownce and Jaiku. Why? It’s not because it’s better. It’s just because we’re all still there, because it’s simple, because it solves a lot of needs.
- Flickr – We’re sharing photos on Flickr and SmugMug.
- YouTube – We’re sharing video on YouTube and Blip.tv and a few dozen smaller places.
- Digg – We’re getting news from Digg and Reddit and SlashDot, and there are lots of new upstarts for specific niches. We seem to like these sites because they let the crowd vote on what’s newsworthy to US as a niche.
So that’s some of what we’re interested in. You’ll certainly want to add places and tools into the comments section, so that we can get those called out, too.
The Marketplace Overall
I’d say the barrier to getting me to join a new social network is getting higher and higher. If you’re doing a business network, I’m already using LinkedIn. If you’re building a place for friends to connect, Facebook in all its annoyance still handles that enough-ish, and Twitter handles it great.
What comes next for networks? Velvet rope. Lots of it. I think the next step (and this was once prophesied by Eric Rice somewhere) is something closer to an anti-social network, or more accurately, a professional social network. Want to see a top shelf example? Check out Sermo, a social network for physicians. I met with Daniel Palenstrant, the founder, recently and he’s a smart cookie. He’s got a great product and he knows it.
What about tools?
Social Media Tools
There are lots of overlap experiences going on at the moment. For instance, there’s an entire social information aggregation space, all with different spins. There’s Lijit for search, FriendFeed for aggregation, and then maybe a dozen variations on the theme thereafter. Check out Louis Gray‘s site for TONS of these types of apps. (Good guy, Louis).
We have Twitter/Pownce/Jaiku. We have Utterz for the multimedia-meets-phone. We have Qik and Seesmic and a flavor in between.
In blogging software and content platforms, we have WordPress, Drupal, Tumblr, Blogger, Joomla, TypePad, LiveJournal, and another million opportunities.
There are MANY tools. So then, what is the barrier to entry with either another tool or network?
High. Challenging. Difficult.
So What Do We Want?
This is your turn to answer. What do you think is necessary out there? What do you want built to suit YOUR world? How can an entrepreneur turn your head and get your attention? What would lure you off your platforms right now, or what aren’t your existing tools covering for you?
The comments section of this post will far outweigh the value of the post itself, so remember to click through to [chrisbrogan.com].
The Social Media 100 is a project by Chris Brogan dedicated to writing 100 useful blog posts in a row about the tools, techniques, and strategies behind using social media for your business, your organization, or your own personal interests. Swing by [chrisbrogan.com] for more posts in the series, and if you have topic ideas, feel free to share them, as this is a group project, and your opinion matters.
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