MySpace Nation and Eyespot

How They Work

Bringing people together is what all social-networking sites have in common, but how and why they do this—some are just for fun; others are for achieving a goal such as finding a job—is where they differ.

Some sites, including TagWorld, operate along the lines of MySpace, predicated on the idea of letting you create a personal-profile page where you can share all sorts of random thoughts and multimedia content. Other users become your “friends,” some of whom are complete strangers. From there, it’s a popularity contest of sorts to see how many friends you can amass. So far, MySpace president Tom Anderson is the prom king, with more than 80 million friends.

Other sites, like Flickr and YouTube, are merely a repository of user-provided content. Buzznet, Flickr, and Zoto (among others) broadcast your digital photos. And Eyespot, Grouper, and YouTube serve up your personal videos and hilarious, poignant, or bone-crushing moments captured from live TV. You can share your browser bookmarks on del.icio.us, your MP3s on Mercora, and the names of your favorite books on LibraryThing. The idea here is that you can get better results searching for specific content that’s been hand-picked from the vast reaches of cyberspace. And most tagging sites will let you then follow the trail of breadcrumbs to see who posted the link you like and what other content he or she has to offer.

Sites like LinkedIn, which at three years old is one of social networking’s pioneers, use existing business contacts as the roots for growing new ones. They’re built on the notion of six degrees of separation—the idea that we’re only six introductions away from anyone we’d want to meet. Linked-In and similar six-degree sites such as Friendster, Ryze, Plaxo, and Tribe were the first to use the term social networking.

Some sites use the wildly popular concept of tagging as a tool to link people together. Users are encouraged to tag their information with keywords, a way of linking similar content. If you’re an anime fan, for example, you can visit TagWorld, click on the “Anime” tag, and instantly browse all photos involving Japanese animation.

Once you’ve linked to the posts of other anime fans, you might find yourself browsing beyond their anime pics, into the rest of their photo collections, their music, their blogs. Who knows? You might develop a running online relationship—or even meet them in person.

Social Networks Compared

Social Networks Compared

Jim Kaskade

Jim Kaskade is a serial entrepreneur & enterprise software executive of over 35 years. He recently successfully exited a PE-backed SaaS company, Janrain, in the digital identity security space. He started his career engineering massively parallel processing datacenter applications. Prior to identity, he led a digital application business of over 7,000 people ($1B). Prior to that he led a big data & analytics business of over 1,000 ($250M). He was the CEO of a Big Data Cloud company ($50M); was an EIR at PARC (the Bell Labs of Silicon Valley) which resulted in a spinout of an AML AI company; led two separate private cloud software startups; founded of one of the most advanced digital video SaaS companies delivering online and wireless solutions to over 10,000 enterprises; and was involved with three semiconductor startups (two of which he founded, one of which he sold). Jim has an Electrical and Computer Science Engineering degree from University of California, Santa Barbara, with an emphasis in semiconductor design and computer science; and an MBA from the University of San Diego with an emphasis in entrepreneurship and finance.

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