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Early phases of Social Networks and web 2.0

ImprovoloneImprovolone Registered User regular
edited September 2009 in Help / Advice Forum
I'm not so on the cutting edge of technology that I am one of the first hundred people to use Facebook/MySpace/Twitter/LibraryThing/YouTube/ad naseum.

How in the hell are these websites launched when they are so dependent on user submissions? I've been reading a lot about web 2.0 philosophy and technology and I'm at this huge road block that is preventing me from moving forward creatively.
My first thought was to fake a community long enough until a real community develops, but after a meeting with an old professor of mine who does a lot of interactive work, he pointed out that by basing a real community on a fake community, as soon as the lie is discovered the entire thing collapses. Much like how many ARGs that are started by companies as advertisements fail.

Does anyone know how these websites were launched, what they initial attraction was, or anything about starting a social networking website/community?

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    PeregrineFalconPeregrineFalcon Registered User regular
    edited September 2009
    Designer creates site. Tells friends/small social group "Hey guys, check this out." If it or the concept is shit, it usually fails then and there. Otherwise, they go "Hey cool. Hey (new friend) check this shit out." New friend goes "Oh cool. Hey (shitload of other people) check this shit out." And so on. Word of mouth, basically.

    Myspace is similar, except that it was shit and for some reason caught on regardless. :P

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    DrowsDrows Registered User regular
    edited September 2009
    If I remember right, facebook started as a small thing for a college or small group of colleges. You couldn't sign up unless you had an email address at one of the supported schools. Once it became popular it branched to other colleges, high schools, and then the populace at large.

    Drows on
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    Canada_jezusCanada_jezus Registered User regular
    edited September 2009
    Designer creates site. Tells friends/small social group "Hey guys, check this out." If it or the concept is shit, it usually fails then and there. Otherwise, they go "Hey cool. Hey (new friend) check this shit out." New friend goes "Oh cool. Hey (shitload of other people) check this shit out." And so on. Word of mouth, basically.

    Myspace is similar, except that it was shit and for some reason caught on regardless. :P

    A friend of mine is doing a leftwing version of facebook (sounds retarded it is) just for use in our lefty student organization. Really no one is signing up because the opinion is "facebook is better and i already use it."

    so euh, have something new or excellent to offer i guess?

    Canada_jezus on
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    ImprovoloneImprovolone Registered User regular
    edited September 2009
    Designer creates site. Tells friends/small social group "Hey guys, check this out." If it or the concept is shit, it usually fails then and there. Otherwise, they go "Hey cool. Hey (new friend) check this shit out." New friend goes "Oh cool. Hey (shitload of other people) check this shit out." And so on. Word of mouth, basically.

    Myspace is similar, except that it was shit and for some reason caught on regardless. :P

    The problem with that is that every report I've seen shows that actual content creators (not taggers or commentators) are about 1% of the visiting population.

    Improvolone on
    Voice actor for hire. My time is free if your project is!
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    PeregrineFalconPeregrineFalcon Registered User regular
    edited September 2009
    Designer creates site. Tells friends/small social group "Hey guys, check this out." If it or the concept is shit, it usually fails then and there. Otherwise, they go "Hey cool. Hey (new friend) check this shit out." New friend goes "Oh cool. Hey (shitload of other people) check this shit out." And so on. Word of mouth, basically.

    Myspace is similar, except that it was shit and for some reason caught on regardless. :P

    The problem with that is that every report I've seen shows that actual content creators (not taggers or commentators) are about 1% of the visiting population.

    Why is that so important? I'm betting it's even lower - for example, I've never uploaded a YouTube video. I've watched an assload though. That 1% that loves to "create content?" The other 99% of us are cool with that.

    PeregrineFalcon on
    Looking for a DX:HR OnLive code for my kid brother.
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    Monolithic_DomeMonolithic_Dome Registered User regular
    edited September 2009
    You ought to read this book:

    http://www.amazon.com/Here-Comes-Everybody-Organizing-Organizations/dp/1594201536

    It's by Clay Shirky and he's a genius. Basically a direct answer to the questions in your post, in book form.


    You might also be interested in the story of Stack Overflow. It's a Q&A site for programmers. Started about a year ago and gets 16 million page views a month. Look at the archives of that blog for some great stories about building a community website.

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    DarkewolfeDarkewolfe Registered User regular
    edited September 2009
    Web 2.0 is so 2008. Become subverted by the Cloud and join Web 3.0.

    Regarding the actual question, though, there is quite a bit written on the subject. Naturally, there's no formulaic explanation for how to make one idea work over another, as there can never be a formulaic approach to success. The general idea is that social networking is inherently viral, as long as the service offered is unique and useable (youtube) or a significant enough improvement on an old system as to make it uniquely valuable (facebook's replacement of myspace).

    Darkewolfe on
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    ImprovoloneImprovolone Registered User regular
    edited September 2009
    You ought to read this book:

    http://www.amazon.com/Here-Comes-Everybody-Organizing-Organizations/dp/1594201536

    It's by Clay Shirky and he's a genius. Basically a direct answer to the questions in your post, in book form.


    You might also be interested in the story of Stack Overflow. It's a Q&A site for programmers. Started about a year ago and gets 16 million page views a month. Look at the archives of that blog for some great stories about building a community website.


    Awesome, thanks. I'll look into those.
    Designer creates site. Tells friends/small social group "Hey guys, check this out." If it or the concept is shit, it usually fails then and there. Otherwise, they go "Hey cool. Hey (new friend) check this shit out." New friend goes "Oh cool. Hey (shitload of other people) check this shit out." And so on. Word of mouth, basically.

    Myspace is similar, except that it was shit and for some reason caught on regardless. :P

    The problem with that is that every report I've seen shows that actual content creators (not taggers or commentators) are about 1% of the visiting population.

    Why is that so important? I'm betting it's even lower - for example, I've never uploaded a YouTube video. I've watched an assload though. That 1% that loves to "create content?" The other 99% of us are cool with that.

    Because 1% is very small number when you are dealing with whatever audience number a new website manages to pull in. Sure LibraryThing doesn't need content generators, it can exist just for the individual to track their books, but YouTube and LastFM really need the creator userbase.

    Improvolone on
    Voice actor for hire. My time is free if your project is!
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    DmanDman Registered User regular
    edited September 2009
    The best way to get user generated content is to offer them something for free.

    If you think about it, youtube is free video storage and hosting for people uploading.

    Dman on
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    DarkewolfeDarkewolfe Registered User regular
    edited September 2009
    Oh yeah, Chris Anderson's book "Free: The Future of a Radical Price" is out. It broaches some of this, focusing on the aspect of providing the consumer with something free and what you can get as a result. Youtube plays a big part in some sections.

    Buy it here:

    http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1401322905?ie=UTF8&tag=thelongtail-20&linkCode=as2&camp=1789&creative=390957&creativeASIN=1401322905

    Or just download the e-book for free.

    He did send me a copy for free when it was first starting, and I did agree to talk about it if it was good. :P

    Darkewolfe on
    What is this I don't even.
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