“Acquiring New Networks”

Last week, I wrote:

…one of the untapped online social opportunities is serendipitous new social connections – making new friends, in other words. Location is one promising way to look for new social connections…

Tech Crunch has a nice article (*) from last night, in which they drive a similar point:

Most of us have already either connected or reconnected with all the folks we know online, and the next evolution is for services to help us discover new connections. This element of discovery drives these services to help us build smaller networks around our core groups of friends and family, or to build newer networks with folks we don’t know yet but who have similar interests or location patterns.

Maybe “Discovery” is part of it – or indeed making new friends – but actually as I think about it, I’m not so sure. For one thing, “Discovery” takes you back into the world of self-curation, requiring more and more work by the user, whereas technology should make things easier, not harder…

One key use case is a person moving to a new area. Are they most interested in “making new friends” in general, or do they want to find out about activities, how to pursue their interests in other words? In pursuit of interests, they may indeed make friends, whether online or in the physical world.

I do think that manufacturing useful + interesting + relevant online – and especially mobile – experiences without requiring a lot of user self-curation is a core social-media opportunity.

(*) Tech Crunch actually put some work into gathering all the different sources of data plus thinking about them… Not just the company-announcement-with-a-twist-of-snark model they sometimes fall back on… It really is a nice post.

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