Before we discuss ideas for social networks, we’ll briefly explain the motivations behind developing a new social network.
Social networks have becoming increasingly important in modern society – they are used to communicate, form relationships and share experiences. Further to this, social networks have become increasingly pervasive with the increased popularity of mobile devices and high-speed internet. This is changing the nature of social networks, which are having to adapt. For example, Facebook has recently purchased Instagram, a mobile app which provides simple photo modifications, and purchased Whatsapp, a mobile app which provides messaging.
With Web access increasing, there is an growing market for social networks. These can range from general social networks, such as Facebook, to social networks focused on niches, such as Flixter, a website for movie fans. Thus, we feel that now is a good opportunity to get a better understanding of the nascent social network landscape, and form part of it while there is a strong demand.
What is a social network? How can we differentiate ordinary websites with social networks? Wikipedia provides a simple definition of a social network:
A social network is a social structure made up of individuals (or organizations) called “nodes”, which are tied (connected) by one or more specific types of interdependence, such as friendship, kinship, common interest.
The key part here is the connection. This is how people are related to each other – for example, through friendship or common interest. A social network needs to facilitate this connection, and on top of that, will usually provide features which foster the connection, such as messaging, exchanging videos and photos and forming groups. They are also often free, providing further incentive.
Within our group discussions, we will need to think about the type of connection we wish to facilitate in our social network. This will allow us to decide on a market we wish to target, and form an understanding of the demand for our product.