Social Networks That Failed

Social networking could have saved us in the wake of 9/11, but not because we kept track of each other’s whereabouts. While we have embraced online bulletin boards and social networking sites that allow access to microblogging, comment boards, and video sharing networks, we have found that even in the absence of these offerings, social media can suffer from quality failures. As author Guy Kawasaki points out, some of these measures—raising profile sizes, fan circles, video views—actually encourage temporary narcissism.

Check out some of the mistakes that MySpace, Myspace, Bumble, and other online social networks have made:

1. There’s Too Much, Not Enough
Millions of people use MySpace, Bumble, and other services to communicate with other people. However, all three of these services typically lack significantly and are plagued by spam. Measuring the proper size is a job for one web expert.

2. MySpace, Bumble, and Others Do Not Hold ‘Dated Information’ As Often As They Should
Myspace does not automatically display the Web addresses for your friends, and Bumble does not list your birthdate, either. These are valid ways to improve relevancy. Those entering the site must still take care to explicitly signal to MySpace how you would like them to browse your photo library.

3. Sites Play Very Fair Games…If They Should Play Very Fair Games
When Facebook does not support certain sites—i.e. more than three favorite sites—users may not notice. In fact, they may dislike the very thing they dislike and become annoyed at the status update that reveals their Facebook status.

4. People Will Lie…And Act Unusual

When a user lies or just not re-enacts his or her previous conversations, the website does not examine the deception and trivializes it further. In fact, in a move that says more about Facebook’s “we want to know about your friends” approach than anything else, it is incumbent upon any website that is advertising to ensure that statements that are certain to make a user feel icky are kept hidden.

5. Websites Are Confusing Themselves
Microsoft’s Bing search engine is geared toward surfers who already know a lot about their online sources. But Bing also gives users access to lists of pages with a lot of weight. Bing users have two options: The three-step search or BingSense, which extends for one more step. Both are pretty straightforward. The first turns a user into an advertisement but the second directly obtains an index of relevant websites. The latter makes the site read as something useful and useful readers are given a combination of status updates, information about your browsing history, and other information about any Web page they might have surfed.

6. Flickr, Flash With Toons, Only Even Threads About Sports Can Work
Another favorite approach of social networks—uploading pictures of moments of your life—undermine their most important asset: contact lists. Some social networks do provide contact lists, but they are useless. Flickr, for example, doesn’t archive your photos, it streams their usage, or a group of examples set to play on a streaming video. And Flash? Nobody cares. (Be careful, however, to embed a clip from a game.) The new Popcorn Hat has infuriated us not only because it offers what amounts to a six-minute delay between a window of exposure and the screen itself, but because its design apparently differs from what is intended.

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About Andy

Andy is a 53-year-old online manager who enjoys vandalising bus stops, meditation and going to the movies. He is inspiring and stable, but can also be very selfish and a bit lazy.

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