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So John McColgan has launched a new Social Networking site, worldirish.com. I wish him good luck, I’m not begrudging a fledgling company the chance to shine, to create jobs and to contribute to Ireland’s ascent from the ashes. I do however want to mention a few of the other social networking sites that exist around the globe. Google Orkut, Yahoo’s Buzz, ConnectU, Walmart’s The Hub, MySpace, Apple’s Ping. You might not know all of them, but you can certainly see that there were some pretty big names behind them. They have something in common; they are all either less than successful or they never got going in the first place.
You can read an article by Dan Fletcher at this link that will tell you a little more. Social networking sites do not work because they have the backing of a huge corporation or a powerful individual. Larry Page, Sergey Brin and the late Steve Jobs found that out. They don’t work because they’re niche, as WalMart found They certainly don’t work with the blessings of a Government. They are the antithesis of corporate invention and governmental intervention; just look at Facebook and Twitter’s role in the Arab spring and in Iran. The successful Social Networking site works because people want to use it. It’s really that simple. We are swamped with networking; I’m on three sites already and I keep getting invites to Google plus, even though I rarely update my statuses. So I have to ask, why does an albeit extremely successful businessman believe that his idea has a better chance of succeeding than the likes of Google and Apple? There seems to be an increasingly seductive nature to dot.com ventures, as though they will become the saviours of western economies and I’m puzzled to know why this is. Maybe the initial outlay and the overheads are perceived to be small compared to other types of business? Maybe the nature of the internet and its notional lack of boundaries sways otherwise cautious minds? I really don’t have those answers, for if I did I’d be playing tennis with Mr Zuckerberg. What I do know is that setting up a social networking site will be fraught with legal challenges over privacy, criminal activity and spamming. I also know that dot.com’s on the scale Mr. McColgan envisages are not engines of recovery, merely sideshows—eye catching maybe, but really small fish in a really big ocean. Best of luck John… you’ll need it.
By Guy Barriscale.