Thread: A social network’s soul.

How to tell if a social network has soul?

How often do the founders’ tweets get retweeted. How often do their names pop up in your stream, not as ads of course, but because someone thought they were worthy of a pass-along.

In that spirit, I realized the other day that:

1. I never see tweets from Ev or Biz, two of the three founders of Twitter.

  • Of course today someone RT’d Ev.
  • It always works that way!
  • To show I’m a good sport, I RT’d the RT. 🙂

2. I do sometimes see tweets from Jack, the other founder, and they’re often useful.

I don’t use Facebook or Google-Plus, but even if so, I would imagine from time to time I’d see things linked from Vic Gundotra or Zuck. And the other day I did see something from Vic. The only times I ever see something from Zuck is if there’s a shitstorm over privacy and he has to write an open post to try to calm people down. But it should be a constant drumbeat. And not something synthetic. They should be NBBs. But no network yet has figured out that they need NBBs at the helm.

A picture named julia.gifThis epiphany comes after an embarassingly large number of years using social networks.

Back in the days of CB Radio on Compuserve, which was very much like Twitter believe it or not, the Compuservants (people who worked at the company) never used the service. In fact they referred to us as the Lonelyhearts Club (I knew this because I had a personal friend who worked there and heard about it over the phone, not on the network). Compuserve is long-gone.

Whatever you may say or think about Scoble, he is retweeted. He works tirelessly to push new ideas out there. Any network should kill to get him on board. Pay him huge bucks. Wine and dine him. But they’re so clueless they seem to resent him. Eventually this will flip around, and guys like Scoble will be seen as the equiv of NBA stars or American Idol winners. They are the reason people come to the service. If you’re starting one of these networks you would do well to entice him.

What made me think about this is that Hugh MacLeod, the famous Gaping Void artist-blogger, told me that Scoble had told him he should be using Instagram as his social network. I agree, up to a point. But Instagram never sought out Hugh. And Instagram doesn’t have feeds, so I can’t plug Hugh’s content into my flows. So bzzzt, I veto Scoble on this one. But he was 80 percent right. Instagram is a good choice for what Hugh does, if they 1. gave a shit and 2. let the data flow.

I think eventually the artists will rise and take all this over.


About Dave Winer

Dave Winer, 54, pioneered the development of weblogs, syndication (RSS), podcasting, outlining, and web content management software; former contributing editor at Wired Magazine, research fellow at Harvard Law School, entrepreneur, and investor in web media companies. A native New Yorker, he received a Master's in Computer Science from the University of Wisconsin, a Bachelor's in Mathematics from Tulane University and currently lives in Berkeley, California.
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