How Many Social Nets Are Too Many?

How Many Social Nets Are Too Many?

Posted Jan 28, 2004, 8:33 PM ET by Judith Meskill

Today in Wired News, Leander Kahney has a story Social Nets Not Making Friends in which she talks about: an SNS backlash brewing; Jason Kottke s parody job listing on; and the fact that the social networking service field has ballooned to include about 20 different services.

Well Leander, by my count, there are more than 100 social networking services that I have been observing cruising past my virtual radar gun in the past few months. I have been tracking this burgeoning growth of services aspiring to help discover and connect my friends, potential partners, business cohorts, and various levels of acquaintances and I have this scary feeling that I am only carving shavings off of the tip of an iceberg with this list.

Here is a copy of my accounting replete with links of this daunting deluge of SNSs:

Affinity Engines,, AsiaFriendFinder, Backwash, Backwash for Pets, BuddyBridge, BuddyZoo, Chia Friend,, Community Zero, Company of Friends, The Conneck, Contact Network, Corporate Alumni, CraigsList, Delphi Forums, Dude Check This Out!, easeek, ecademy, eFriendsnet, 8minuteDating, Eliyon, enCentra, Eurekster!, everyonesconnected, Evite, First Tuesday, FriendFinder, Friendity, Friend Surfer, Friends Reunited, Friendster, Friendzy, GermanFriendFinder, Globe Alive, GoingProfessional, gradFinder, Growth Company, HeiYou, HelloWorld, hipster, Huminity, IndianFriendFinder, InterAction, ItsNotWhatYouKnow, KnowMates, LianQu, LinkedIn, Living Directory,, The Lunch Club NYC,, matcheroo, Mediabistro, MeetUp, Monster Networking, mrNeighborhood, MyEMatch, NetMiner, Netmodular Community, Netparty, Netplaya Burning Man Community, Networking For Professionals, Nerve, Online Business Networking Resource, The Opinion Exchange, orkut, PalJunction,, peeps nation, PowerMingle, qpengyou, RateOrDate, RealContacts, ReferNet, RepCheck, Ringo, Ryze,, SeniorFriendFinder, Shortcut, Silicon Valley Pipeline, Small World Project, Social Circles, Social Grid, SocialTree, Sona, The Spark, Spoke Software, StumbleUpon, Sullivan Executive Networking Community, Talk City, There, Tickle by Emode,,, UUFriends, Visible Path, Wallop, WisdomBuilder, WorldShine, YeeYoo, YOYO, Zdarmanet, and Zerodegrees.

[The Social Software Weblog]

Judith was certainly busy compiling this post!

While I am inclined to agree with those who argue for weblogs as a more robust medium for active social networks (see, for example, Jon Husband’s, Scoble’s, Dina’s, and Lilia’s comments for starters) I don’t think this is just a matter of VCs with money burning a hole in their pockets. Nor is it simply a matter of too many programmers with free time on their hands and a copy of Linked nearby.

We’re social animals and were long before writing was invented. Connecting has always come before content. Failing to understand that was the downfall of many early online experiences. One way to think about what’s going on now is that we’re in the midst of making new and more intereting mistakes than we have in the past.