Bring me my social networking

August 22, 2004

One day last year, I was sitting in the lobby of a hotel in midtown Manhattan with two friends. It was pouring rain outside, and we were in low-energy mode. We were idly thinking about going to see a movie at the theater across the street, but had no idea what was playing or when. Our next best plan was to go somewhere for a drink before dinner — but again, no one had any good ideas about where. I also needed to check my email to catch up on tentative plans with an acquaintance further uptown — a guy I knew well enough to exchange email with, but not well enough to have his phone number — but I didn’t have a computer or network access closer than my friends’ room upstairs. And of course I was sitting there thinking, “Dammit! It’s 2003, and the Interweb still sucks!”

That’s what social networking should be, and unfortunately still isn’t. In the long run, I don’t actually give a rat’s ass what my friends’ favorite TV shows are — because I never watch TV with them. Social networking has to be useful and able to solve real problems, not just be a cute (or pornographic) time-waster.

Of my interactions with social networking, the most positive ones so far have been (excluding blogs):

1) Career contacts via LinkedIn. These have been almost all of high quality, and save significant time for both me and the hiring manager. Not that I’m looking for a job right now, but it’s always nice to know what’s out there; and the introduction aspect is very valuable for this use-case.

2) Being able to route new contacts through Friendster. I love being able to say “Send me a Friendster message” to people I meet through the blogosphere or conferences, instead of having to give out my real email address or IM nick or phone number on the public Internet. And did you know you can now block Friendster messages from undesirable acquaintances?

3) Finding out via an Orkut group that one of my friends had quit his job. He was so busy he didn’t bother to let me know his lame self via phone, email, blog, or carrier pigeon.

Given how much time I spent on social software, that’s a pretty disappointing payoff. Unfortunately, I don’t just get to bitch about it… I’m supposed to be making things better. So help me out here: what social experiences could be usefully intermediated by a service like Friendster, but aren’t yet?

11 Responses to “Bring me my social networking”

  1. SteveC Says:

    I might say that having a category of “looking for a job” and/or “looking for a roomate” would really help.

  2. Adam Rifkin Says:

    I looked everywhere for a carrier pigeon, but there were none to be found. Orkut seemed like the next closest thing… 🙂

  3. linkage Says:

    Bring me my social networking, friendster looking for advice on where to go?…

  4. Klintron Says:

    I agree that a roommate finding feature would be a useful addition to a social network service.

  5. Jeff Says:

    Friendster is useless!

  6. Sangrona Says:

    I just got this link from a friend of mine who cancelled his Friendster account because of your firing.
    I think Friendzy is currently hiring (not kidding)and if you would like you should send me an e-mail and I can pass it on to their hiring dept.
    I, too, have a blog and I just sent my HR dept a memo asking that they clarify their interweb policies.


  7. mike Says:

    Here’s a site that gives a pretty good view of the pros and cons of joining
    LinkedIn. If you want, the the author will invite you to join LinkedIn.

  8. man…that sucks…i’m really interested in what people would want in their sites as well…but you have to put up with all this damn spam on your comments. we should start a social networking site that’s sole purpose is to find all people that spam. and kill them…well…not actually kill them…but you know.

  9. Bob Wyman Says:

    It would be real nice if you could delete the spam messages from time to time…

    While you were in Manhatttan and trying to decide what to do, wouldn’t it have been nice if you could go on LinkedIn, Orkut, or Friendster and found out who amoung your friends were also in Manhattan on that day? e.g. These services could provide a little box that let people input “Where I am now.”… Then, when in a foreign city (other side of the country or other side of the world) you could ask: Which of my contacts are within 15 miles *today*…

    bob wyman

  10. Pakistani Hacker Says:

    to increase Orkut Scraps or scrap book numbers you need to run a simple asp code.
    I can tell you the command
    Just email at

  11. orkut founder Says:

    Pakistani hacker , there is no need to use asp code to increase orkut scrapbook or scraps , You may use a simple script in a very common and understandable programming language.
    Its a damn 1 line code which is so simple and quite affected. contact me at

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