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Summary:

In the world of journalism, you as a reporter/writer are valued for three basic skills: ability to ferret out news and trends, ability to write, and last but not the least, for building up your rolodex. Fatter the rolodex, the better a reporter you are, and […]

In the world of journalism, you as a reporter/writer are valued for three basic skills: ability to ferret out news and trends, ability to write, and last but not the least, for building up your rolodex. Fatter the rolodex, the better a reporter you are, and that explains why The New York Times‘ Tom Friedman is so successful. Your rolodex would (and should) include more names than just Rob Enderle. Rolodex, infact is the key here. It makes you privy to news before your rivals, it is one true differentiator between a good and a great reporter. By now you must be wondering, what’s the point of this rambling?

The point is this whole trend of social networking. Whether it is Tribe.net, Friendster, or LinkedIn, they are banking on one little aspect – we would share our rolodex, and build up a network of our own, and of course somehow more links would be formed. It is a very noble thought. What’s in it for the companies? Money – big money. Kleiner Perkins, Benchmark, Accel Partners would not fund these people if there wasn’t any money to be made. They can tailor the ad campaigns, become a Match.com or a highly linked up “eBay.” (Upside of the social networking trend is that there is a new malady called, the social spam, which no junk filter catches, and as a result it is consuming bandwidth by gobs!)

The question I have is: why the F**K should I share my network of contacts with these commercial entities. They are like BlogSpot that does nothing for my brand equity and in many ways chews me out after making the network connections. Thus what I want is a “MoveableType” of social networking. Blogs took off because it was about one person – me. My social networks should be of my making for me. Lets figure out a way to cut out the middlemen.

A special application, which allows me to set up my own private Tribe.net. As these “private” tribes grow, I want the ability to exchange link-ups between “tribes” of my choosing through a format which is similar to say RSS or the XML-RPC. (Smart engineers can figure this out!) This application should be easily downloadable, and easy to install. The developer can charge for it – I would easily fork over $50 – will maintain the sanctity of my network, will insure the purity of the contacts, and if I have something to sell, share or offer, I should profit from it, not some Sand Hill Road maharajah or some dot-commer who is getting a second chance.

And in case you end up developing such an app, a tip of the hat would be nice. And listen to Frank Sinatra’s My Way, when you are developing this app. (Go on cuss me if you like – that’s why the comments section is there for. It would be great to find a person or two who actually agrees with me.)

Recommended reading: Social Software ideas

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  1. They key point about Om’s article is privacy and security. I signed up for Linked-In, but will not use it because I don’t feel like my network will be kept private and secure. I’ve worked so hard to create it – all it takes is one spamming or botched up intro to really do some damage.

    My friend started ContactSpan in this space. Although I have the same concerns, at least these guys do not reveal identity of people in your network. You can only ‘browse’ other people relationships by company or title but no more.

    Overall, the concept of social networking is great. I’ve used it twice to get someone else a job and also for an intro into a VP of biz dev.

  2. anil dash’s daily links Tuesday, December 30, 2003

    a plea for decentralized social software

    http://gigaom.com/archives/2003/12/my_network_my_way.html

  3. Noch’n Blogg. Tuesday, December 30, 2003

    Soziale Netzwerke – aber bitte privat

    Soziale Netzwerke wie LinkedIn, Friendster, Tribes.net und auch OpenBC sind momentan der letzte Schrei. Ich bin in einigen registriert, habe…

  4. Social Networking Buzz.

    There’s some interesting thoughts coming out about Social Networking today: Social software ideas :: The Daily Journey :: JayAllen.org and Om Malik’s Broadband Blog: My Network, My Way! So I’ll toss in my two cents – which is really something…

  5. The Power of Many Tuesday, December 30, 2003

    Private tribes wanted

    Om Malik’s Broadband Blog: My Network, My Way! The question I have is: why the F**K should I share my network of contacts with these commercial entities. They are like BlogSpot that does nothing for my brand equity and in…

  6. Audio/Mobile Blogging News Tuesday, December 30, 2003
  7. Channeling Cupertino Tuesday, December 30, 2003

    Om Malik on Social Networks

    In My Network, My Way!, Om Malik points out the hidden agenda of the companies offering you a way to create and interact with a network of friends. (Hint: they want your rolodex!) Malik also offers a solution: “a ‘MoveableType’

  8. Om Malik on commercial social networking tools

    OM goes off on commercial social networking ventures: The question I have is: why the F**K should I share my network of contacts with these commercial entities. They are like BlogSpot that does nothing for my brand equity and in…

  9. The Trommetter Times Tuesday, December 30, 2003

    Dump Christmas Junk

    LiveDeal.com Get rid of all those Christmas presents you don’t want!I Robot Now a movie within a commercialClean Sweep…

  10. cloudy, chance of sun breaks Tuesday, December 30, 2003

    are social networks a viable business proposition?

    Om Malik on Social Nets The point is this whole trend of social networking. Whether it is Tribe.net, Friendster, or…

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