A new social network

I have an interesting assignment at work. I am on a team who is building a new online social network. My duty is to flesh out the feature set and logically figure out how it all works so that the designers and programmers can build it.
I’m basically designing what the site is supposed to be and how it will work.

It’s going to end up being very web 2.0. We have some incredible designers and programmers who can pretty much build anything I can imagine.

This is an awesome project. I’m really excited about. We’re basically building a new myspace or facebook but with a major twist.

For those of you that use social networks (xanga being a social network itself) have you ever thought about what you would do differently? What features you would include to make it better? How you would completely change it?

I’m not asking for ideas. Believe me I already have a ton of them. And the client is paying serious cash for those ideas and giving us pretty much complete creative control.

I’ll keep you guys posted when the new site launches.

But I will say one thing. If this new site takes off, which it should considering what it will be. I’m going to have something really powerful on my resume. I mean imagine if on your resume it said you were the designer of facebook. The person who put together what it would be and how it would work. That would be a very nice thing to have.

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0 thoughts on “A new social network

  1. You know, I generally don’t think of Xanga as a social network in the same sense that Facebook and MySpace are social networks.  Since Xanga is content-driven, I tend to think of it in totally different terms than I do the others, where the content seems secondary to the social aspects.  Am I alone in that perception?

  2. @mysterylad - I get what you mean. But it’s really on a scale. The content is just different. But if there was no content on any of these sites then no one would ever go. On xanga the content is blog entries and articles people write. On facebook the content is the the pictures, status updates, the applications and the people. On youtube the content is the videos. But all of them have a social networking aspect to them. The scale (or way) in which people can network with each other is just different.   

  3. Each social network has it’s pro’s and con’s.  I have many thoughts on this, but I tend to gravitate to Xanga – due to it’s networking capabilities that (in my opinion) are a bit better and more diverse than others. Again, that’s just me.

  4. You must be a remarkably talented young man to be in this position!  I say, “Good for you!” I wish you every success and hope your career goes very well indeed!



  5. I didn’t know that you were a programmer. Rock on!

    I think one of the things that I would do is have a forum, a chat that had a Web 2.0 front end but was really IRC being served up on the back end. You could even connect to the chat via an IRC client. I would try to move the garbage that Facebook constantly bombards you with to some place other than where you first log in.

    Truth be told though, you’re asking the wrong person. I had so-called social networking sites. When I stared on Xanga back in 2005, they didn’t have half the crap they did now. To me, it was Live Journal’s retarded cousin. Xanga has grown up a lot since then and has even added cuts to their posts. Comments aren’t threaded, but at least there is a way to directly respond to a comment and a notification of said response. I think that all of these social networking sites fail when they don’t promote real blogging first.

    You might argue that Twitter is an exception to this rule. Well, it’s not. Twitter is a micro-blogging site. So again, they are pushing the user content.

    The fact of the matter is that people in the States like to sit on their fat ass and do absolutely nothing. That’s their prerogative. This also means they like shiny things to entertain them, hence the reason that so much Flash and Javascript crapware populate our screens. So, yeah, you’re going to have some idiots banging around on Facebook and MySpace long after they are officially dead because of the flashing lights.

    People care about content. I don’t care if the pre-teen demographic is your mark. The only way that you’re going to be able to monetize that demographic is though on-site ads, which we all know don’t pay if they aren’t being clicked on. You need a site that is going to offer products for sale and you need people over the age of 18 constantly using your site and buying those products. You don’t want to nickel and dime for everything, but you do want to have a revenue stream.

    Take Xanga for instance. You can blog for free on Xanga. This is supported by ads. But you also have the ability to purchase an account with more features that is ad free. So Xanga has two revenue streams. I don’t know what their deal is with the Brain Fried Network (BFN) but I do know they additionally offer some swag.

    If you’re just the code monkey writing this thing, then all I’ve just said is for naught unless you have some plan to break away and create your own site. But if you’re designing the site from the ground up and you do have control in these kinds of decisions, I urge you to consider what I have said.

    Good luck!

  6. @ProfessorTom – HEHE…Thanks for the inquire :)   The BFN is a separate entity.  I’ve sought permissions to legally use their logo, and do work on projects with them, and some that have their support.  I’ve considered the BFN more of a Xanga PR thing – even though I’m not paid by them.  They’re a great bunch of people – that Xangateam. :) 

    Hope that clarifies it a bit more.

  7. Comparing Facebook and Xanga is like comparing apples and oranges. I use them for different things. Facebook is just a means of staying in touch with “real” contacts, and Xanga is where I blog anonymously to write as I can’t with people I know around. While they are different, I wouldn’t merge them. But I’m sure you are already keeping your audience, and how they will use it, in mind.

    Good luck, and you are right, wow imagine that on your CV!

  8. @ProfessorTom - I’m not a programmer. I’m an audio video specialist who was brought in on this project to foresee it’s developement because of the nature of the beast. This isn’t like any other social network you’ve seen. I can’t go into any more detail. But I am developing the feature set and logically laying out how the site will work from an end users point of view. The programmers will make it work and the designers will make it look good. The project managers will figure out how it makes money. Although I’m also keeping that in mind. :)

    It’s my job to figure out the basics of how it will look, how it will work, which links lead to where, what toolsets exist, what conflicts exist and why people would want to use the site period. It’s a lot of work and I have two other people working with me just on this aspect of it. Although I’m leading that core of the team. Everyone will base things off of what I come up with. 
    I have a meeting about it first thing tomorrow morning. So I have a lot of work to do tonight laying out templates for feature concepts.

  9. yeah it definetly would be, im quite content with xanga the way it is, but, whatever you decide to compose i would make it easier to access on a cell, xanga refuses to work on my boost and for my blackberry i had to pay extra

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