Social Networking Differentiator

Greg Narain has an interesting article on his blog concerning Social Networking sites. In it he talks about the crop of current socail networking sites and what will be the difference between the survivors and the vanquished…

“But something deeper inside the wave is forming beyond social networking infused products multiplying like mice.Some of this gelled for me during a meeting with Fred Krueger and Evan Rifkin of TagWorld. The startup is building a comprehensive communications and media platform, not just a social networking site with profiles, buddy lists and
photo sharing. Krueger says his goal is to allow users to easily build complex Web sites with sharing and a social network as the underlying fabric.The so-called architecture of participation is slowly gestating in the bellies of hundreds of startups and established players, and the social Web, made by humans for humans, is taking shape on top of the grid. Sharing and collaboration is not an afterthought bolted onto email or deployed in a separate server for workflow.” – Dan Farber

The one thing that is certain is that all these social networks can’t survive – consolidation is inevitable. So what’s the Social Network Differential? What will make the difference?

“The most influential source of change, and eventually consolidation, will be users’ attitudes towards the various SNS applications. In a widely public race, the SNS with the most USABLE features will come to rule, not necessarily the one with the ‘best’ ”.

With choice comes evaluation and comparison. With experience comes knowledge. Both of these forces are working against the current crop of SNS applications. It is, purely from an economic point of view, simpler to build bigger and better when someone has done the research, development, testing, and education. Programmatically, it’s often easier to write new code while refactoring existing code than to mend an existing infrastructure. With users more informed, their ability to discern the good from the bad grows.

The ability to switch between social contexts with ease and ultimately usability will be the key differentiators between the survivors and the vanquished. It’s already starting to look that way.


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