Invitation to join me in LinkBook / Scotty / Glaxo

We all periodically receive emails from social apps requesting that we add a contact, confirm a contact is a convicted mass murderer, or that we trust a website to divulge the pecadilloes of everyone we know.

In the distant past we had only a few social media apps. Plaxo might have been the first business oriented one (am I wrong?) and LinkedIn got going eons ago. I’m a late adopter of such things, so I got into Facebook only about 6 months ago. Now it seems like a new social media app spams me every week.

facespin dredging

On the one hand, I’m supposed to keep tabs on all the new developments in social media so I can help Market Motive subscribers understand the new online marketing stuff that works, vs that which is new and irrelevant.

On the other hand, I am very unlikely to accept an invitation to join someone I barely know in a social media app I certainly don’t know. There are just too many of them, and I’m not going to contribute to the problem by having it automatically spam everyone who ever emailed me.

The issue is that most of these apps do not solve my problem (finding people) but instead are focused on solving their own problem (acquiring subscribers). Unfortunately for such new sites with small numbers of subscribers, the most compelling aspect of LinkedIn is that everyone already uses it. Established sites are very hard to beat because of their superior network effect.

I feel bad that I’m contributing to the failure of a VC funded startup, and in so doing I am causing the stock market to deflate and thus putting my long term finances in jeopardy, but so be it. Not every social media app that can scrape hotmail for a list of contacts and spam the bejesus out of them deserves to succeed. I won’t join you, trust you, or interact with you in a social media app that I’ve never heard of, because chances are I’ll never hear of it again.

You are now seeing the long tail of social media apps. The blood flow is poor at the extremities.

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  1. Ophir Cohen says

    Hey John,
    You are so right!

    We’re being bombarded with social networks for a while now, but I think facebook apps is really something worth a serious discussion.

    I totally agree with you that 99.9% of them are simply spam wrapped in a “cool” gift box along with a “seal” from facebook which means basically “social spam”. Perhaps “Social Spam” (or “sspam” ? :-) ) can be a term which will be widely accepted within a short while.

    On the other hand, I keep readinng research reports whch shows increase use of these apps and increased traffic to business web sites from social networks, especially facebook.


  2. Bryan Zmijewski says

    My, my, my… a long blog vacation and you’re poohing everything social/web? It wasn’t too long ago I was getting harassed by a million web analytics companies :)

    Most social network sites are as useful as iPhones- it’s just going a take some time for the dust to settle before people realize their lost time investment.

  3. Clifton Flack says

    John, you make an interesting and valid point that we’re being bombarded with useless social apps by people we barely know.

    Ophir also makes a good point about ‘sspam’

    On the basis that we agree that in some form or another Social Networks are here to stay, the challenge for those of us in the industry is to take Social Networks to ‘maturity’

    By maturity I mean creating a clean platform for people to recommend ‘useful’ and compelling apps to share with friends and interact with individually. For example, I do not think we are far from online banking making in roads, offering full online service within your ‘secure’ social network account. This is an example of ‘useful’, these banks could offer incentives for account holders to recommend services to friends such as mortgages and loans…. and there we have it, reputable brand names endorsing social networks in a useful and viral manner.

  4. says

    The iphone analogy is very weak. iPhones are useful in and of themselves because I can:

    Call people whether they have an iphone or not
    Email people whether they have an iphone or not
    Browse websites that are not built for iphone

    With a social media site, implicitly I can interact only with other members of the site, hence the incentive to grab members while you can. In another 6 months we’ll be exhausted from all the useless social media sites and will refuse to join new ones, leaving just a few standing.

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