You Are a Social Media Product

You Are a Social Media Product, Sucker

Facebook, Twitter, or any social network isn’t something that can sell itself. It needs you, and preferably every single one of your friends, ever.

I recently joined a new social network, Path, and I cannot find a single person I know. I like the idea of Path. I like the limit of 50 friends and its simplicity, but if I cannot find a soul on it, then what’s the point of using Path? I want to share moments with people, not with myself. I do that all day long, and trust me, I get sick of my crazy self.

The goal of any social network is to connect people. If a social network can’t do that, then what’s the point?

So, what do you market to get people to join your network? Sure, features are one thing, but really, what else can network offer beyond sharing text, pictures and videos? People.

That’s why you see your friends and possible acquaintances constantly popping up in the sidebar on Facebook. That’s why Twitter tells you “Who to Follow.” It’s why LinkedIn shows people you may know. Because these people and what they offer to the network are the product. Everything else is secondary to providing access and information on the people.

Social networks are only fun when they are social. That’s why Path looks like a barren wasteland of ones and zeroes to me. It needs humanity. Without people, social networks are just networks.

And who wants to be a part of that?


8 Responses to You Are a Social Media Product

  1. Nabil November 29, 2010 at 10:22 am #

    Nobody wants to be a part of a network. Networks are so 1996.

    Loved this post as well.

    • Jay November 29, 2010 at 3:08 pm #

      Fact: I made my first website in 1996. It was terrible, but I made it!

  2. Wayne Sutton November 29, 2010 at 2:49 pm #

    Hey Jay, I’m on Path and have been using it since it was launched. You’re right as far as social networks are made to connect with people but Path’s goal is to allow you to connect with 50 close friends. Being a new app if you’re existing social graph is not on Path you could introduce a friend to the app via the email a friend option and boom, you are now social.

    Currently I’m sharing my Path photos with 6 friends including @Ginnyskal. A suggestion is to give Path and any new social network or iPhone app time. I feel as too many peple are to quick to judge new apps when they are launch and compare them to existing social networks to determine it’s success or failure. Path has a great team (a few who are friends) and a lot of VC funding that I’m sure will have Path on the right …. path sooner or later and maybe not all but more of your friends will be using it. I’m not going to touch the “social media product” title.

    • Jay December 1, 2010 at 2:18 am #

      I’m trying to give Path a shot, but it’s just making it unnecessarily hard for me to find people. My close friends who I’d want to put in the 50 all don’t have iPhones or similar iOS devices, so that’s an issue right there.

      My other issue with Path is it only searches for people via e-mail, which is great for the ten or so people I have an e-mail address for on my iPhone, but what about all the other contacts I have?

      I currently love Instagram, which is extremely similar in idea to me, but much more accessible in terms of finding people.

  3. todd November 29, 2010 at 3:53 pm #

    Everything starts at zero.
    Start your group and get to inviting. See which suckers show up

    • Jay November 30, 2010 at 3:56 am #

      True, but you need more than one person to start a group.

      • todd November 30, 2010 at 4:03 am #

        Got no sucker… I mean friends? Get to inviting!
        “One is the loneliest number…”

  4. Brianne December 1, 2010 at 12:44 am #

    Hey Todd,

    If sarcasm is your shtick, more power to ya. Otherwise minimizing douchebaggery goes a long way.

    Have a great day.