Social Networking: Takes More than Pretty Legs   July 14, 2008

July 14, 2008

In “Crash Into Me”, Dave Matthews sings, “Hike up your skirt a little more and show the world to me.” We can dig where Dave’s coming from, but are pretty legs enough to get site visitors coming back in 2008? Sure. Maybe. Well. Hmmm.

Put into historical perspective, here’s a brief timeline of the web we live in:

1998:
Natalie Imbruglia’s “Torn” topped the charts. Web sites that didn’t crash and that loaded the same day were hot.

2002:
Justin Timberlake’s “Justified” was a hit. Web sites that looked nice got plenty of hits too.

2008:
Pretty isn’t enough. Sites that rule have found ways to be both pretty AND social.

The list of social web technologies grows daily and encompasses such things as user profiles (the bigger, fatter, more preference laden the better), forums, polls, reviews, ratings, quizzes, wikis, blogs, webinars, social graph exchanges, widgets/gadgets, chats, ad infinitum.

So what’s a “social” web site? It’s about as easy to define as what’s “pretty”. Facebook, MySpace and LinkedIn are sites that often come to mind. Here are some lesser known sites that exploit the social aspect of the web very effectively:

Lance Armstrong’s livestrong.com – This site engages visitors in creative ways, giving them plenty of reasons to register and keep coming back.  There are how to videos, forums, support groups, food journals, challenges, and featured experts that yap and give links to their blogs. If you’re into health and fitness, Lance makes this site hard to resist.

Threadless.com – Threadless entices consumers and designers with a format of show it, critique it, vote it, buy it, model it. Kind of American Idol meets custom t-shirts online.

Is social networking right for your site? Good question and one that only you ultimately can answer.  If you’d like to brainstorm with successful web developers, we invite you to contact us. When you get to the “comments” part of the form, just type in “Takes More than Pretty Legs”.  We’ll know what you mean.

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