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Social Network Profiles are Not Fancy Personal Home Pages

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Creating a space for your members to “show off” or “express themselves” is less important than giving members to interact. They crave connection and will pursue any perceived connection such as shared interests, hometowns, movies, orientation, or schools.
Social Network Profiles are Not Fancy Personal Home Pages

Abraham Harrison LLC

They’re not at all about sharing, they’re about connecting. The best of breed SNS’s are primarily concerned with three things: finding your current friends, reconnecting with old friends, and making new friends. In that order. Current friend connections are the most essential, offering the most energy.

The best SNS’s are like an office ski trip. Out of the 30 people who choose to chip in on the trip, maybe four or five of them are pretty good friends. The remaining 25 have only a few things in common with you, including being in the same industry, being at the same company, liking skiing, and being probably within ten years of each other in age and a shared experience of going to college.

When you get to the ski slope, there are plenty of diversions planned to help you relax and feel comfortable among your colleagues. You may rent a very large home together near the slopes, you might stay at a big hotel together. You might all travel up there together in a chartered bus. And when you arrive, there is a cocktail party, and a social, and in the morning there is breakfast, etc. The people who come up who don’t want to ski have board games and the spa.

So, an SNS is about creating artificial and intentional ways of starting a conversation. Office pools and work happy hours. They’re all affectations. There are so many web sites and blogs and so forth out there that successful SNS’s can’t follow that model.

So, when it comes to building a valuable personal profile for an SNS, it is important that the profile isn’t just pretty and isn’t just the equivalent of a questions-based, template-based personal website. For example, modern SNS’s tend to request an exhaustive list of favorite movies, favorite books, favorite TV shows, etc. These are props that allow registered members to find each other based on a love of LOST, 24, or the Matrix.

People love to connect based on shared interest and shared memories. People also love to compete. A friendly competition is always a very powerful way to allow people to both connect and create shared memories.

One of the most successful methods of connecting people in a very strong way is through bringing them together through “pools.” Fantasy football is popular; Oscar pools, college basketball pools, etc, are very powerful ways of bringing people together and allowing them to “ski” together, allowing them to interact in a very powerful, visceral, way.

I have friends who have powerful, shared memories, of Oscar and football and basketball pools; even stronger are the shared memories of seasons of fantasy sports, fantasy football in particular. Unlike catching a real game together, fantasy football can happen 100% online.

Virtual online communities are neither virtual nor are they exclusively online. They are real, powerful, communities of real people building real connections that can, and often do, result in marriages, children, businesses, jobs, and emotional support when times are rough.