TAG: Youtube

The Social Graph and Objects of Sociality

Why our relationships can’t be explained without the objects and experiences that we share.

One of the biggest problems on the Web is joining a new social networking site. To do so means going through the painful effort of creating a profile and adding all of our friends, something we’ve done over and over…at least once for each social networking site we already belong to. This is quickly becoming an issue for everyone who uses social networks.

This problem has led to a flurry of activity, highlighted by LiveJournal creator Brad Fitzpatrick’s missive: Thoughts on the Social Graph, in which he clearly outlines the issues involved as well as some worthy goals to shoot for. Brad’s piece was followed shortly after by the Bill of Rights for Users of the Social Web, which among its rights is the right to allow users to syndicate their own profile and friend data. This, of course, would alleviate the squeaky wheel.

Social Network

In addition there are countless groups getting together to try and solve this problem. The microformats folks are working on building formats to help with this. The DataSharingSummit is an entire event focused on this and related problems. All of this activity is centered around one idea: that people have a social graph that can be represented in software. In other words, we can recreate our offline relationships online and let everyone know about it by sharing some sort of file or feed.

The major axis of the social graph, as Fitzpatrick points out, is relationships between people, or more simply, a list of friends. My social graph, for example, consists of my friends, colleagues, family, and acquaintances. These people I know to some extent or another, some I talk with daily, some I know only online, and some I would rather not speak to. 🙂

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What if YouTube was simply lucky?

The post I wrote yesterday YouTube, Lazy Sunday, and Elephant Math is still bothering me.

This is why: the insane growth of YouTube had a definite starting point…the release of Lazy Sunday. I knew that Lazy Sunday was a factor in their growth, but I didn’t realize how big a deal it was until I graphed it out on Alexa. (not that Alexa is the end-word, by any means, but even if it is somewhat accurate the graph it would still show Lazy Sunday as the starting point).

Lazy Sunday

What if it was Simply Luck?

What if the viral growth of YouTube was luck? What if, for example, someone had uploaded Lazy Sunday to some other video service? Would that service have taken off and become #1 instead of YouTube? Was YouTube just the product of serendipity?

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YouTube, Lazy Sunday, and Elephant Math

Read an amazing statistic today about YouTube.

It involves Lazy Sunday, the hilarious Saturday Night Live skit performed by Andy Samberg & Chris Parnell which exploded on the Web in January 2006, generating over 5 million views and generally signaled the power of the viral growth of video. (read more about Lazy Sunday here)

The stat: in the weeks following Lazy Sunday, YouTube’s traffic grew 83%. 1

Lazy Sunday

At the time YouTube was growing, but Lazy Sunday was, in today’s vernacular, the “tipping point” which shot YouTube to stratospheric mind share. After Lazy Sunday, there was no question as to who the #1 video site in the world was. (YouTube was purchased in November 2006 for 1.65 billion)

This tipping point is even more startling when you look at the growth curve of YouTube…and notice that it started really growing in the December/January 2006 time frame. Wow.

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Common Pitfalls of Building Social Web Applications and How to Avoid Them, Part 2

This is part II of a series on Common Pitfalls of Building Social Web Applications. Read Part I

5) Not Appointing a Full-time Community Manager

No matter how prescient your designers and how well thought out your design strategy, there is no way to design a perfect social web site that doesn’t need ongoing management. Yet, some social start-ups fail to recognize this and launch their app without a designated caretaker. The result is a slow failure…the worst kind of failure because it’s not immediately apparent that it’s happening.

In any decent social app, use and users are always changing, always adapting and pushing the limits of your software. So as Matt Haughey, founder of Metafilter, says in his excellent Community Tips for 2007, “Moderation is a full-time job”.

Continue Reading: Common Pitfalls of Building Social Web Applications and How to Avoid Them, Part 2