The Nitty Gritty:
- Why it’s time to disrupt our existing social networks
- How we can create a better future when we connect individuals who share a common identity or interest
- Why there’s room for the old social networks and new interest-driven social networks; entrepreneurs can leverage them both
While we may not have a crystal ball to predict the future transformation of social networks, we have Gina Bianchini as our guest on this week’s Profit. Power. Pursuit. podcast, and she has some amazing thoughts about how social networks must evolve. Gina is the founder and CEO of Mighty Networks, a company that facilitates the creation of dedicated communities around an identity or interest, and founder and former CEO of Ning.
Existing social networks served a purpose but we have outgrown them
There’s just no substitute for people who are on your same path.
– Gina Bianchini
When Facebook started 11 years ago, it set out to help you consume information from people you already knew—former colleagues, college roomies, extended family members, high school and elementary school classmates. And, it did its job splendidly. Today, there are 2 billion people who are connected in ways they weren’t previously.
But, as Gina describes in the podcast, Facebook doesn’t support finding, meeting and breaking the ice with people who are on the same path as you—whether that path is a career or entrepreneurship, an illness, parenthood or more—via a newsfeed that whizzes by and gives no context for the updates that you see. Dedicated social networks solve that issue.
Small (with the ability to scale) is the next big thing
The people who don’t already know each other is the next chapter in how the world is going to create new relationships and a better future.
– Gina Bianchini
So, is small the next big thing? Tune in to the podcast to hear Gina’s full explanation, but the reality is that it doesn’t take a lot of people to make you feel like you’re in it together. At the same time, being in it together should be able to scale to larger numbers.
You can connect with people who are at the same stage as you (there’s a reason there’s a freshmen orientation), in the same region as you are and as the network grows you can meet more and more people that are just like you. An interest-driven network should focus on all the kinds of relationships that very naturally mirror the perfect environments of the real world.
So, it’s not really a matter of small versus large. What Gina loves about small though is that it feels attainable. Anyone can create a network based on an interest that then can create these really phenomenal moments and spark incredible relationships that don’t require millions, thousands or hundreds of people. It just requires a handful of people that care about each other.
How to use dedicated networks to grow your business
Think of your traditional social networks as your marketing (or the front of the house), while a dedicated network is the “back of the house” where you trade shop talk with like-minded people. A dedicated network doesn’t have to compete daily with hundreds or thousands of posts on divergent topics and issues and viral sensations.
When you try to use Facebook for everything in your business is where it falls down and where interest networks can really step up.
– Gina Bianchini
There are plenty of useful nuggets in the full episode of Profit. Power. Pursuit. about the notion that interests bring us together, the power of dedicated social networks to enhance your life and your business success and the critical role word-of-mouth advertising is even for a venture capital-funded business such as Mighty Networks. Gina also shares what’s on the horizon for dedicated social networks—videos, smarter software (that can actually ORGANIZE events for the network) and revenue features to make the networks even more powerful.
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