Leave The Social For The Social Networks

Sometimes I hear the specs for a new project I might be involved in and I can't help it to tell people what I think about this "new kind of social app/network" they're building.

I say to them that they "should leave the social part of the project for the ones that do it allready: the social networks". And you know for sure that they do it good! So why going through the hassle of building an entire focused community from scratch?

In fact, nowadays it's getting really really hard to replicated the success of the large networks and, before that, trying to show people that this new app is worth going through the sign up form. Most of us had enough of friends and followers.

I came to this post by @fredwilson through @cuchicosta called Cross Network Utility and Networks on a day where I had told this same message to a client. He wasn't the first one. So it kinda ringed a bell.

There are two paragraphs I would like to highlight in this article that I think need no comments on this topic. Just think about it…

We see a lot of startups who want to build networks but they start by connecting with existing networks and providing utility that is cross network. (…) I am certain that these cross network utilities can become good businesses but I wonder if they can become networks.

He then goes on by saying

If the initial utility of an app is to connect to a bunch of networks, collect information, present it, and then let the user engage with one or more of those networks, what incentive is there for the user to engage directly with other users of the app and help build a network inside of it?

Fred mentions the aggregational feature of these apps quite a few times but I've held it from here to focus on my point. The social one that is.

What do YOU think? Drop me a line on twitter.