Not sheepish, but individ-ewe-al
2011-07-30 07:22 pm (UTC)
Huh, that's a really interesting point. I was basically assuming that paid-for social networking was dead in the water by this point, 99% of people are going to prefer free (as in beer) but evil Facebook over any paid alternative, however morally and technically superior. And there's the network effect: nobody wants to join a social network where they don't already know a decent number of people, and certainly nobody wants to
But I think that by taking that network effect as a given I hadn't considered your point about
the move to person centred discussion over subject centred
. That's a really helpful, succinct way of putting something that I sort of knew but hadn't quite crystallized. And it certainly helps to explain why so many people are consumed with nostalgia for Usenet, which to me looks like a cesspool. If socializing were subject-centred, and primarily a way to meet new people, then you might well pay to join a forum discussing topics you were interested in, even if you didn't already know people there; as long as there was
activity, the network effect would be much less powerful. (I suspect this is why, by all accounts, Ravelry works well, and is often held up as an example of how to do social networking right.)
Regarding paying for verification, do you think it would help to literally do that? As in, it's free to join Facebook 2.0, but if you pay $10, they will put in the administrative effort needed to verify that you are using an established, real-world identity. And people who jumped through this hoop would automatically get promoted by the system as trustworthy (eg you could have a security setting saying, only verified users may message me / see my private details / friend me / whatever). Could that work?
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