Monday, November 05, 2007
10 Cs of social networking
10 Cs of Social Networking
Considerations that I consider vital and essential to any interactive social media platform, like FaceBook, Ning, Twitter, Jaiku, Pownce, Rhizome, Kyte.tv, YouTube, flickr, etc.
Responsibility for building and maintaining these qualities is shared by both the social network developers and the community members who actively participate. Degrees of involvement vary according to how much control can be exercised by developers or members for each of these aspects.
You have to have something in common, a mutual interest: chatting, connecting, romance, beta invites, link sharing, file sharing, marketing, music, politics, art, knitting, productivity tools, tech gadgets, whatever interest or web service (like microblogging, photo sharing, mp3 hosting, live streaming video, job search, social bookmarking) a social network is primarily or initially based on.
You need to feel a sense of belonging, a communal spirit of "we're in this together", which can evolve into a virtual advisory staff, exclusivity cult, or online family gathering: the digital tribal motif.
Members and admins must have clear and fair Terms of Service, consensus netiquette, and be polite to all, patient with newbies, and proud of controversy sparkers, which can draw traffic to the site.
You need to feel like you're in a supportive or at least tolerant environment, where you can vent, rant, rave, chortle, and weep, and even if other members vigorously debate your cherished beliefs and opinions, they are basically compassionate, sympathetic, helpful, and seeking your best interests.
If the quality, relevance, and value of member contributions is good, the social network will be more successful, but if the content is excessively spammy, abusive, self-promotional, impersonal, commercial, irrelevant, trivial, narcissistic, or dogmatic (like some HTML and gaming forums), the network will decline.
Beyond self-expression and chatting is the ideal of working together with others to achieve something in business, education, art, music, film, politics, environmentalism, social justice, pacifism, or other interests, and the ideal social network needs to enable diverse forms of team project facilitation.
There needs to be a way for members to kick and ban trollish intruders (especially in live streaming video sites like UstreamTV, Justin.TV, Operator 11, and BlogTV, where sexual predators pretend to be caring people, but pry into personal details and living situations of lonely female webcasters), or at least flag and report an abusive member or comment poster, to ensure user control over their channel and to foster a safe and supportive atmosphere.
The social network (socnet) must triumph over competitive socnet platforms, scaling problems, bugs, accusations of containing only frivolous drivel, privacy concerns, and other bad publicity based on misunderstandings, and win the favor of venture capitalists, business press, early adaptors, and active members.
The social network developers must, and I stress that word exceedingly, MUST respond quickly to users regarding questions, feature requests, problems, trolls, spammers, and other concerns, which will contribute to a productive and evolving platform, for if this is not done, members will eventually mutiny and migrate to a better, more responsive network.
Members must feel that the network is basically reliable, in conformance with their needs, and somehow hanging together in a "privileged", "cool", "elite", "nichey", "advanced", "hip", or other way to differentiate it from other, competing sites, and this special unity is enhanced by implementing all the preceding qualities.