It’s Like, But(t)

Butt Features - The Anti-Social MediaBecause I write a social media blog, every crappy PR “professional” who covers the technology beat sends me press releases. These are things that are usually not even halfway related to social media, but I guess they figure, “Hey! He’s a blogger and people tweet him! Maybe he can make our client money!”


It’s annoying at best and a sad state of affairs for PR professionals who actually know what the hell they are doing. But this post isn’t about that.

This post is about new social networks. I often read about new social networks through pitch emails like those and on social media news sites. People make new social networks all the time, because for one reason or another, they think they’ve made something new just because you can have a profile, post updates, and see what your friends have posted.

And 99% of the time, they describe the new network as “It’s like this, but that.”

Guess what, if the best way to describe your service is “It’s like this, but that.” I don’t give a shit. I’ll probably keep using whatever this is. Why?

  • I’ve already established a network on this.
  • I don’t want to learn the nuances of that.
  • Why do I even care about that?
  • Won’t this implement that anyways?

You need to give me a compelling reason to build a new profile and new network. Adding one “but” feature will not be enough. Any competitor can come along and create something similar. Google’s recent success with Google+ adoption is not because their social network is particularly impressive yet, but rather because they’re Google and no one wants to get screwed in their search results.

Social media developers - think about what you can do differently. Think past a news feed, or one killer feature you wish another social network had. If you want to make a new network I will pay attention to, it needs to have something truly new and compelling, not just “but” features.


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