Site List – Social Networking

March 18, 2003

in Knowledge Innovation

My continuing review of social networking tools and software has lead me to many sites each with slightly different functionality twists. This collection listed today is in no particular order merely a summary to explore. My key interest is in the functionalities and how they are impacting on consumer experiences and benefits. Too many of these use copycat functionalities and are not addressing consumer issues. For broad use… they must be kept simple.

Community of Practice / CoP collaboration approaches include
Tomoye who was just noted in Fast Company and has a great set of clients.
Communispace has effectively built customer communities and has a model for creating online panels of 300. Caucus like Webcrossing are pretty traditional threaded discussions. Metalayer by contrast is something new offering what I’ve termed before as a smart wiki concept. Like what I’ve seen of Tomoye it includes improved profiling tools. None of these provide the claims that Linkify does for working on documentation simultaneously.

However all of the above involve people that know each other or get to know each other through a forum, discussion or business exchange. Depending on the forum and the moderation “trust” will be defined by the users.

By contrast NetDeva has developed an interesting Trust exchange concept While Xpertweb in perhaps a similar stage of development is developing seller based reputation. Both these programsrequire broad adoption if they are to be broadly successful. However they both have great potential amongst professional networks.

Which brings me to these emerging social network / directories. I’ve written about Ryze extensively, however it is by no means standalone. Many of these evolved out of observations from dating sites (Match, HotorNot, eCrush to name three that have different functionalities). Netplaya is new, created as a Burning Man demo is an effective design-knock-off that explores some new areas. It’s relatively easy to navigate and could fit well with a number of corporate applications. Friendster is targeted more at social networks using friends to find your soulmate. Friendster is interesting just after the orginal sign-on process. At that point you have created a page and yet have no friends. Until you get other friends to join, it’s impossible to expand your network. This provides a perceived higher level of “trust” and security (say compared to Ryze) and yet limits the thrills of joining and exploring a new community.

Buddynetwork like Ryze and Ecademy they look to be developing a F2F face to face program. There are also entries in the “Adult” area, which have typical traffic incentives for affiliates attached. True Peers is also stuck in beta, lacks either photos and makes a play for “contacts”. The simpler sites have been more effective. Fotolog is worth looking at. Too bad it is not an “album” part of Ryze or the equivalent. Still then the majority really would want personal and business networking options.

Fotolog is using Meetup to assist with its events calendar. Meetup is like SMS text messaging without the phone.

Finally none of these programs really integrate with my PIM personal information manager. Two in development are Spaces and Chandler. If either of these manages to integrate with the social networking tools and peer shared directory solutions then the world may become more interesting. I may finally get personal knowledge managment myway. That’s a prize worth pursuing.

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