Social networking is a feature, not a product

When everybody launches their own little “social network” in their own backyard garden, it’s a feature, not a product. That’s what you need to start reminding yourself when you see a headline like “Reuters to start Financial MySpace” that includes a quote like:

“‘You will see us, later in the year, launch a version of MySpace for the financial services community,’ said (Reuters CEO) Tom Glocer. ‘It won’t have the latest hot videos and the ‘why I am into Metallica and the Arctic Monkeys’ blogs. Instead we are going to give our financial services users the ability to post their research or if they are traders, their trading models.'”

By the way, such a quote (with the required “Artic Monkey” reference) is the standard-view of Media executives who see the online world as a place for “initiatives.”

Allowing website users to meet one another — to bring forth the “live” part of a website — is quickly becoming a feature of any website that wants to be viewed as hosting a community. Here’s an announcement for you: Every website and blog is going to be the MySpace of that website or that blog — except, please, MySpace is a lame comparison only someone who would use an “Artic Monkey” reference would say.

Bottom line: Like “Web 2.0,” the term “Social Networking” means nothing because it now means anything.

Observation: One of the reasons I like MyBlogLog is that it (by design or dumb luck) is a “social network as feature” service that lets me do stuff like display that strip of recent visitors to the rexblog.

(via: Steve Rubel)

Later: Thanks to Scott Rafer (see comments), I now know the term “persistent social network” is what MyBlogLog is. Also, when I just visited the rexblog (I usually manage it via Ecto), it was nice to see both Scott and Eric Marcoullier, MyBlogLog founders rolled by recently. Other faces appearing at the time were the minimalist web designer, Lewis, who rolled by from a guest room at the Shanghai Ritz Carlton; social media maven Marianne Richmond; and Susan Mernit, the lady who puts the “!” in Yahoo! The rexblog director of hackology, Patrick Ragsdale, is the guy with the beard and longtime Hammoratian, Laura Creekmore is on the right. Nashville blogger (and rexblog friend) Jackson Miller is the guy with the headphones. I’m happy to be in their persistent social networks anytime.

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