I realize that everyone has an idea that they consider "the best," but at some point don't you think it's better to just adapt your idea to something already in place? There's an old saying that there's no need to re-invent the wheel . . . it's round, it rolls, it serves the purpose for which it was designed.
I think we are reaching the point of reinventing reinventions, at least for social networking sites. Yes, I realize that many of the sites that are now wildly successful got that way by being responsive and innovative. I realize that Friendster probably had a "duh" moment when they noticed that MySpace was offering things they didn't allow. I realize that MySpace looked at Facebook and maybe thought twice about all the bells and whistles (user-chosen music and slow-loading pictures and backgrounds) that Facebook abhorred (though the Vampires and Werewolves aren't much better). But at what point do we realize that our friends, acquaintances, and barely-known connections would rather fall off a cliff than join "yet another" social networking site just because we tell them "it's designed specifically for what we've been looking for?"
In announcing a new sports-related social networking site, Business Week said:
Sports social networking would seem to be a natural since fans are tribal by nature. And if the sports world has taken a while to capitalize on the obvious, that's changing fast. In the past year pro leagues—including the NBA, NHL, Nascar, and PGA Tour—have opened up their sites, allowing fans to post comments on message boards and create interest groups. Now athletes and teams are taking social networking a step further, establishing communities outside league sites.
So why not just add a group to MySpace, Facebook, Bebo, Hi5, Freindster, Yahoo! or Google?
Must we face yet another login-and-about-me post-fest? Come on! Does anyone that isn't into funding and media not realize that we have had it up to here (motioning with left hand to forehead) with another site that refuses to import our profile and can't seem to get the whole openID concept?
Everyone in business has ideas. See my previous post on how easy it is to get caught up in the innovation process and succeed at absolutely nothing. For those who missed it, the rules for social networking (as I understand it) are here.
There will come a time when the latest group to "get" social networking will no longer be news. There will be a time when people will actually figure out how to engage in business activity on the social networking sites they already are signed up for (though they may need a password reminder for). There will be a time when we get messages from a real user friendly site that advises us of the start of a new group based on the interests and preferences we listed with them.
I sure wish that time was now!
What do you think?