Sometimes I think we use terms like community and social network and collaborative filtering and mashing as if they were all going out of style; we pontificate about their pros and cons and pass judgment about all kinds of things. We’re in grave danger of believing our own propaganda, believing that all the value to be had is in our conversations.
Which is why we need to keep reminding ourselves of what’s really happening out there. People using the web to club together to buy a football club, Ebbsfleet United. People taking shares in emerging bands and helping them get to market, as in what Sellaband are doing. People changing the way you find emerging music, like what the sixty one are doing. People making it easier to share what you watch, like what vodpod are doing.Â People coming together sharing comments on what music lyrics mean, as in what songmeaning are doing.
All these things have some key similarities, some characteristics that are worth understanding:
- Low barriers to entry, anyone can come in; where there is a price, the price is affordable
- Aggregation value: the whole is greater than the sum of its parts, there is something being created that no person could create on his or her own
- Democracy:Â Each person has the same voting rights
- High cohesion, loose coupling: The services offered are entire in themselves, yet can attach themselves to social networks quite easily; they aren’t trying to solve the world, just to do one thing well.
- A belief in community and in sharing.
I have been quietly compiling a list of these sites, covering a whole variety of topics, subjects and areas. Maybe it’s time I packaged them for sharing here, any interest?