I’m always interested in seeing how the social networking process is being captured at various online sites, so I’ve been variously part of Orkut, Friendster, Ryze, LinkedIn and even MySpace. For some sites, a social network is a logical outgrowth too. Think of sites where you’re visiting because of specific shared interests with other members and becoming friends with them.
Think Meetup.com, the newest entrant in the social networking derby.
There is a curious sort of logic to these new features, since Meetup is already focused on arranging and coordinating face to face meetings. You probably remember Meetup for its extensive press coverage during the last election: it became the favorite meeting coordination tool for politically active folk of various stripes.
There’s no presidential race around the corner, which appears to have given the Meetup team a chance to really think through the future of its business, especially the question they’ve always had of how the heck do we monetize this thing? Their last attempt, a switch from free to paid event coordination, didn’t go over too well in the marketplace, as I wrote about in The Evolving Business Plan of Meetup.com
Nonetheless, there are an impressive number of coordinators using Meetup for organization and logistics, including over 350 groups in the greater Denver, Colorado area ranging from board games to alternative health, poetry networks to psychics, survivalism to the feral cat meetup.
Put all those meetings together, sprinkle in thousands of different people who either organize or attend one or more event, and you really do have the seeds for a nice social network, and so…
You can see the new tabs along the top of my Meetup Profile: “Friends” and “Testimonials”. Indeed, I have two Meetup friends already, both fellow Coloradoans.
But here’s what I want to know: do we really need yet another social network?
How on earth are we supposed to keep up with them all and make sure that they’re all reasonably well maintained and up-to-date. I’ve already started just ignoring mail people send me within the MySpace world, because I just can’t deal with the terrible email interface on the site.
Here’s a startup idea: we need a tool that lets you have one centralized profile that you maintain and it would automatically update all the different social networks and sites with a social network component so that you’d have a consolidated view of all your friends across the networks, a tool to make sure your profile is updated on all the sites. etc.
Without such a tool, I fear that Meetup’s social networking tools are just too little, too small, and too late. I know I can’t deal with yet another social network…
How about you? Are you suffering from social networking fatigue yet?