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Where Social Networking Falls Down
bakedjake




msg:1572721
 3:04 pm on Jun 29, 2005 (gmt 0)

I saw from the Kelsey Group Blog that MyWeb 2.0 got released today. Good on Yahoo for keeping up the serious pace of software releases.

I'm curious though - what does everyone think of these web personalization services? Browsing through the 10K or so pages that people have flagged, it's a bad mix of Blogs, RSS feeds, or other typical "sites of the day" that you would expect from the blogging-wereallyknownothingabouttechbutwerestillinterneteltists morons that plague the internet these days.

Sure, it's early, but until we get a better mix of people contributing to these types of services, they'll be useless to anyone who's not intrested in what Idiot Savant #4,378 has to say about Google's stock price.

 

Webwork




msg:1572722
 4:11 pm on Jun 29, 2005 (gmt 0)

<rant>

For every original, illuminating work published on the WWW there are 9,999 parrots whose list of important life principles includes "I opine, therefore I am".

Nihilism by proxy: The vapid opinion as self-identity.

Oh joy! Now we can aggregate the bland masses!

For all our new and improved social networking and personalization and communication - anyone notice if humankind is actually one bit . . . more human? Humane? Connected compassionately?

Jake, invent the widget or the process that results in humanity being a kinder, gentler, more decent species then I'll be excited to read about it. Otherwise, I couldn't give a damn what MySpace is up to yesterday or what "personalization" service will be offered tomorrow.

</rant>

Matt Probert




msg:1572723
 4:32 pm on Jun 29, 2005 (gmt 0)

LOL!

I'm with you BakedJake, I think the whole idea is pointless and really rather sad.

Matt

Webwork




msg:1572724
 4:37 pm on Jun 29, 2005 (gmt 0)

Sorry Jake. I'm having a bad client day.

Bad client! Bad, bad, bad! Do not make me work for 2 years, investing 100s of hours and $$$$, only to discover that you were lying about something really important to your case! Bad! Bad! Bad!

iamlost




msg:1572725
 11:26 pm on Jun 29, 2005 (gmt 0)

This online "social networking" seems aimed at the chat room, diary blog, and teenage let's-be-a-clique types. Great for traffic and brand loyalty and building personal preferences/info databases but likely not of real utility for those participating.

Web 2.0 is a silly PR label that implies some great change in interaction and information retrieval has, or is about, to occur. Crap. It is simply some commercial organisations attempting to add group activity to their data mining business plans.

I have varied interests and interact with others online about most of them. And except for our respective ISPs and any peeping-tom spy types these groups/interests/conversations are, while not secret, not listed nor tabulated nor referenced by anyone. And there is no reason why they should.

The mindset that personal interests/conversations/etc. that occur on the internet are somehow "public" data to be catalogued by SEs (and others) alongside websites I find strange to say the least. Not strange that the businesses want the data; rather strange that anyone would provide that data gratus. If asked face-to-face on their doorstep to offer the same information they would slamn the door and call the police.

The dumbing down of the general populace apparently continues unabated.

lorenzinho2




msg:1572726
 11:44 pm on Jun 29, 2005 (gmt 0)

MySpace did 7.5B page views last month.

I care a lot about what they're doing.

For those of you who saw my presentation in New Orleans, I made the point that in 1999 when I launched the site that I work for, I thought that the holy grail was going to be collaborative filtering. First, tell me what kind of beer you like, and we can recommend other beers based on the preferences of folks "similar" to you. And then moving on from there, tell me what kind of beer you like, and we can recommend you a lawn mower.

I no longer think that collaborative filtering is the holy grail, at least not as it relates to recommending products to people.

I now think that the collaborative filtering of people is where it's at. Providing tools to help people meet folks with whom they share interests. And allowing those relationships, either offline or online, to enrich their lives whether it be through something as banal as restaurant recommendations, or helping them strike up a personal relationship.

I think if a site can provide this service, it will keep people coming back.

Finally, as to the point that it's a mystery why people share all this data with Web sites - I think that it's irrelevant.

They do share that information. And if you can use that info to improve your site first, and by consequence, improve your site's business model, then I think you're on to something.

I haven't spent much time on 2.0 yet... but filtering search results through the search patterns of those that share affinities with you is interesting.

I think there's something there.

batgirl13uk




msg:1572727
 4:50 pm on Jul 4, 2005 (gmt 0)

....uh I have to say I agree with lorenzinho2, I care a bit about what's going on in this arena as I have just found myself having to help develop one of these sites. Mind you, iamlost is bang on regarding their true purpose as that is exactly why Yahoo, MSN and teh like are so keen to have these online communities/ aggregators. When Launchcast launched I was more than happy to trade my listening preferences and habits in exchange for free music just as sites like myspace provide a nice arena to stay in touch with people (I am a US ex pat living in London and an alarming number of my US friends are on it).

Actually I was going to ask if anyone has any experience in this arena concerning the launch of these sorts of sites?

Thanks
D

dmorison




msg:1572728
 5:34 pm on Jul 4, 2005 (gmt 0)

The biggest challenge I can see with launching a "Web 2.0" community based service is getting the critical mass of users required to ignite the system and realise the benefit.

Unlike a forum, you can't take time to work up that critical mass if the whole concept requires a large number of users in order to work at all.

Therefore, and unless you have an existing user-base into which you can introduce your new social toy, you have to design a mechanism for growth into your idea.

One way, and the reason why I think del.icio.us has been successful, is to make sure that your service provides a solo user benefit in addition to the community realised benefit. This way, you can promote your service based on the solo benefit and introduce the community benefits that will come later.

iamlost




msg:1572729
 8:06 pm on Jul 4, 2005 (gmt 0)

What would be interesting to know would be the accuracy of information collected from these social group data mining efforts.

We are all familiar with chat networks unemployed fat slob hiding behind tall dark rich and handsome. If you are actually selling something (i.e. Amazon) much, if not all, of the data collected will be accurate. Moving from "business" to "social" information sharing the deception (false data) likely grows exponentially. How real is personal information gleaned of a Saturday night in a pub?

This was emphasised recently during a conversation with my daughter (20-ish). She apparently maintains several different online "identities", including some male, and has a ball doing so. She says many of her generation do so (so I'm an old fogie and out of touch - just leave it lie). It has become something of a game among her friends to try and identify each others alternate realities.

If this "multiple personality syndrome" grows the data noise may invalidate many business uses. Much like scraper sites taking over SERPs. Thoughts?

lorenzinho2




msg:1572730
 4:40 pm on Jul 7, 2005 (gmt 0)

iamlost, it's a real issue.

I think the two biggest tools in combating this sort of behavior is 1) enforcing to the best of your abilities a one account per user rule; 2) providing as much transparency as possible to the readers of your site so they can make their own decision about the validity of the post/poster. By transparency I mean open and easy access to summaries of virtually all that user's site activity.

voltrader




msg:1572731
 5:17 pm on Jul 15, 2005 (gmt 0)


The biggest challenge I can see with launching a "Web 2.0" community based service is getting the critical mass of users required to ignite the system and realise the benefit.

Unlike a forum, you can't take time to work up that critical mass if the whole concept requires a large number of users in order to work at all.

Therefore, and unless you have an existing user-base into which you can introduce your new social toy, you have to design a mechanism for growth into your idea.

One way, and the reason why I think del.icio.us has been successful, is to make sure that your service provides a solo user benefit in addition to the community realised benefit. This way, you can promote your service based on the solo benefit and introduce the community benefits that will come later.

Anecdotally, I've found that I've joined many social networking services (friendster, tribe, linkedin, orkut, ryze -- too many to mention) without having stayed for long. They provided no lasting benefit, unlike del.icio.us, as you mentioned. I think the solo + group benefit is a sharp observation, and a balance that's not easy to achieve.

If I'm the typical user, the oncoming saturation of similar services (Yelp, Insiderpages et al) is only going to further dilute the crit mass required for accurate data mining.

Where's this heading?

bakedjake




msg:1572732
 9:11 pm on Jul 18, 2005 (gmt 0)

del.icio.us has been successful

By what standards? Being a talked about service this year?

Again, I find it useless. Why? Because I can go to 1400 other services that do the exact same thing (wade through blogs and opinions and weird news stories).

Social Networking won't catch on until "real" people start using it, IMHO.

I think Yahoo, with their 360 offering, is betting on local search and social networking taking off at about the same point. It's an interesting gamble, but one I don't think will pan out.

The other 80% of the world doesn't give a #*$! about what anyone else thinks. And they certainly don't give a #*$! about what whiney indie-rockers who hate George Bush think either.

That said: This blog pessimist, who swore he'd never read blogs regularly, subscribed to his first blog via RSS last week, so who knows. Maybe it'll all take off someday. ;-)

inbound




msg:1572733
 9:59 pm on Jul 18, 2005 (gmt 0)

I see real issues with trusting random posts to an anonymous collection of data, it's just that any success attracts undesirable consequences.

Maybe I'm too cynical but you just can't trust people to be honest in such an environment.

What I'd consider as possibly useful would be a system where you can group your data with those that you trust, thus giving a wider set of information (but from a set of sources you know to be reliable).

Taking this a step further, you could elect to trust those that are trusted by your contacts. This may need a dampening factor (your data=1, friend=.5, friendoffriend=.25 etc..), you could even base it on PageRank ( I hereby coin the term 'ReliabilityRank' to describe trust scores in social networking ;).

O.K. I've maybe gone a bit far but how can you trust a datasource that is compiled by an anonymous public?

Dave_A




msg:1572734
 10:05 pm on Jul 18, 2005 (gmt 0)

What?
Doesn't one wonder at the vast ammount of enoblishment of knowledge that such stuff produces.
GRIN!

Robert Charlton




msg:1572735
 2:37 am on Jul 19, 2005 (gmt 0)

What I'd consider as possibly useful would be a system where you can group your data with those that you trust, thus giving a wider set of information (but from a set of sources you know to be reliable).

I've been hearing an increasing buzz in the past couple of months at Bay Area tech meetings I've attended about portable reputations.

While I'm skeptical about these for a variety of reasons, I can imagine that when they evolve enough to be topically relevant, with a big TrustRank type factor built in, they might get interesting. At the least, they might affect what SEOs do.

Just because someone's a friend, though, doesn't mean that I'd trust their taste in all things. I'd rather have the expertise of strangers, so to speak, if it's really expertise.

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