Myspace, Facebook, Relationships, and Utility
Michael Jones served as co president and then CEO of Myspace for the last two years. He recently wrote a column for Fortune magazine. In it, he outlines 5 lessons that he learned during his tenure. Lesson #2 is particularly relevant to PlaceSpeak.
Here is an excerpt:
Utility outlasts entertainment
…where Myspace came up short was on utility—that is, we didn’t have a product that compelled users to come to the site every day, something that had true-long lasting utility for consumers. At its inception, Facebook required users’ to register with their real names. This helped it develop a real world social graph that was a true utility for users and thus. In other words, it has long-lasting value. Whereas Myspace’s entertainment value, with its optional anonymity and its entertainment—focused interest graph, never achieved the same level of utility for consumers.
Yahoo and Google are also a good example of this. Yahoo is a content oriented, entertainment brand with some utility via email, photos, etc. Compare that to Google, which is near‐pure utility to the consumer. The lesson here is that the market and consumers are predisposed to value utility over entertainment because consumers create longer lasting relationships with utilities that make their daily lives easier.
One of PlaceSpeak‘s key features is the geo verification of our users. When residents sign up we ask them to verify that they are who they say they are and live where they say they live. This allows for authentic conversations or consultations with them and provides a higher level of utility to topic proponents.
The relationships we create with residents (and the relations ships they create with each other) will be more meaningful, because they are authentic and not anonymous. Over time, this authenticity will build trust and ultimately create more meaningful relationships. This is an important consideration in civic engagement.