Being an early adopter I felt like the well had run dry on new social networks a long time ago. I’m happy to admit that I’ve been very wrong about that because what really was happening was that I had gotten over them before most of the universe had begun using them en masse.

But every day I see some of the most important people in my life use them and find both entertainment and utility within. These are people that I respect and love and they count them as fundamental parts of not just their day but their experience as human beings.

That’s powerful and it’s awoken a passion within me to see if it’s possible for me to get excited about social networking anew. More specifically, I love the challenge of building something that I could obsessively use day-in and day-out. I also like the challenge of building one differently especially for a different class of user (like developers and engineers).

But I’m not starting from scratch. When I put together the first few social networking apps many years ago I did some pretty in-depth studies of what made social networking services, at the time, so inviting and engaging. I came up with 7 elements of (successful) social networking which are enumerated here:

  1. Ownership
  2. User Customization
  3. Getting / Giving Feedback
  4. Exchanged and Gifting
  5. Collecting Things
  6. Earning Points
  7. Competition

If you think upon any of the social networking services that you use today you’ll find that most of them leverage a few of these quite liberally. But, at the same time, not all of them do them with superior results. I think the best ones started simply and then, in wisdom, added features without bloat or excess or through diluting the experience.

Source – Saddington

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