Thursday, June 12, 2008

Just Hook Me Up to a Car Battery – June 12, 2008

I maintain my online identity fairly well, and I’m an active contributor to websites like my blog, Flickr, YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, and a few others. However, it’s gotten to the point that there is a service or technology to record, share, send, etc for everything I do.

The people of the world are continually looking to share their experiences and knowledge with friends, colleagues, and strangers for the sake of improving the overall quality of content on the web. Facebook has more than 80 million active users, and is the 6th most-trafficked website in the world. Every minute, ten hours of video is uploaded to YouTube, and 35% of all internet users watch at least 1 video a month. Twitter now has 1.2 million regular users, and it’s traffic has grown 850% in the past year. Last but not least, Instructables has over 13,000 DIY projects listed.

It also worth mentioning that more and more Americans are gravitating to grabbing their news from blogs, just look at the adoption and usage rate from this eMarketer chart:

So, why are people into sharing and creating so much information? I think that we can break this down into six simple reasons:

  1. To express oneself (Flickr or Yahoo Live)
  2. Persuaded by a behavioral or emotional trigger (Join LinkedIn)
  3. Because they were influenced by someone else (“poked”)
  4. There was a deep amount of content to wade around in (YouTube)
  5. It was easy, only one click away (Leave a Comment)
  6. It had a level of novelty or utility (Stumble Upon)

The world is continuing to live life online, and there are a plethora of ways that allow us to express ourselves and spread information across a variety of networks and sites. However, it’s beginning to be too much. A simple search on Wikipedia shows that there are over 98 social networks worth mentioning. And by worth mentioning I mean that they have at least 3 million users. There were over 12 sites that had 30 million members, and many other sites hovered within the 10 – 30 million range. That’s a lot of places to recreate your information!!!

I’d like to show David Armano’s novelty curve, which I think does a fantastic job of summarizing how we all feel when it comes to the latest social technologies. We don’t want to get left behind and be the last person to sign up for a service, but we are getting tired of all the different things to sign-up for.

Long story short, while I encourage innovation and crave things that are going to improve my personaltivity, I want developers and entrepreneurs to think long and hard about why their products are going to be drastically different and vastly better than an existing product.

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