People are flocking to Web 2.0 sites where the focus is on socializing.

As a known recluse, I’ll tell you my initial thoughts (last year) on this phenomena were a little sad for the state of our world.

“How terribly lonely and unsatisfied people must be in our heartless world that they have to interact with an unknown via a keyboard just to feed their hearts and souls…”

I realize a year later how skewed that knee-jerk reaction was.

People are not socializing just for the sake of socializing!

They’re flocking to those Web 2.0 sites for a purpose other than to connect. Which explains why the market is both male and female.

Sure, some are looking for love on dating sites, but even more are networking for career goals, interacting over hobbies and interests, connecting for intellectual advancement.

I’ve talked about ‘like minds’ before so I won’t get into it again…

We really should be discussing the build of a Web 2.0 site with a socializing focus. The big question is, “Should social networks be primary in their focus or employ other features where the social networking aspect is just one of many attractants?”

Every webmaster, business owner, strategist or marketer will have to find their own answers on this one, I only bring it up because it is probably something you’ll want to include in your start-up site strategy. Yes, you can always add on later (and most of the people who created Web 2.0 sites that have already lost their appeal should now be thinking “What else?” instead of “Web 2.0 doesn’t work!”)

Make Your Web 2.0 Site More than Just a Social Networking Opportunity

Remember there is very little draw in connecting to others online just for the sake of connecting. There is huge value in connecting – whether it be to find a job, gather data or information from an expert, make money, or get a date – when more is offered from the same url. As an example take a look at what is doing in the sidelines with their fun monk-e-mail application, then poke around on their site for other services and functions.

The real value of social network sites to the end user will be appreciated most when the sites are integrated with other features such as:

  • Presence indicators (online or not),
  • Visible location features (where the person resides), and
  • Communication tools (phone, instant message, email, chat),

all capabilities that make a social network great.

Before I close I want to make a quick mention on your start-up strategy and target market to consider. The male-female ratio. Again, depending on your idea for a Web 2.0 site, features and design will differ across these sites, so carefully study how the sexes differ in their use of the internet and particularly in using social Web 2.0 sites.


Laura Childs