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Social Network Fatigue? Shocking! November 2, 2006

Posted by David Card in Media.
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The Wall Street Journal speaks, and everybody else chimes in. (I’ll spare you five other links.) Netratings shows the social network “category” UV down (comScore’s data are a bit different), and it’s probably seasonal anyway. Survey samples of five teens say MySpace is so, like, over, the pack journalists trumpet. Yeah, right.

First all, let’s be straight, I’m a MySpace fan, not a social networks fan.

We’ve been saying for years that social networking is a feature, not a business. MySpace is evolving into a youth portal. LinkedIn is a totally different beast. YouTube is a media company; it has nothing to do with linked profiles. Friendster, Orkut — eh. Facebook is an actual social network for communications between college students. It remains to be seen if it can be anything else. (Not that that’s a bad thing.)

The startups raising stoopid easy VC by calling themselves “social networks”? — probably toast. Do you think they’d get funded if they called themselves “personal-page hosting” or “chatrooms” or “message boards”? The whole bunch of ’em — toast. Unless they can give their users some other collection of content and services, and/or figure out how to lock them in, say, by hosting all their content, contact lists, etc.

If you’re one of them, give us a holler, and we’ll try to figure that part out together.

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