A New Kind of Social Network?

MyBlogLog Is MyBlogLog a new kind of social network? Sure it is. Let’s analyze.

A social network, in the sociological sense, is a social structure of individuals connected through various levels of familiarity. MyBlogLog certainly is that. But how does it compare to a typical online social network, such as Friendster, MySpace, and Facebook?

A typical online social network has several definable qualities. These qualities can be duplicated in the blogosphere with some effort; online social networks just make it very, very easy. (And easy + desirable usually = quick adoption.)

  • A representation of one’s identity – A profile page, including:
    • Personal info
    • Interests
    • Photos
    • A blog
    • 1st degree connections
    • Contact tools
  • A means to manage your connections – Adding, deleting, & grouping connections
  • A means to interact with varying degrees of connections – Via contact tools
  • Reciprocal connections – A connection between two individuals is visible on each other’s profile page

MyBlogLog basically is traffic & visitor tracking software that includes a widget to display some of those visitors on your site. (Visitors need to have an account with MyBlogLog to be visible; and why wouldn’t you want one? It’s so cool!) It is commonly used on blogs; without a blog, MyBlogLog alone isn’t a social network. A typical user of a MyBlogLog widget has:

  • A representation of one’s identity – A personal site, usually a blog, including:
    • Personal info
    • Interests
    • Photos
    • A blog
    • 1st degree connections – in the form of a blogroll
    • Contact tools
  • A means to manage your connections – As simple as managing one’s blogroll
  • A means to interact with varying degrees of connections – Via email, blog comments, IM, etc.
  • Reciprocal connections – Oops! Blogs don’t always have this.

Does this mean MyBlogLog isn’t a typical online social network? Yes. Blogs + MyBlogLog doesn’t give you reciprocal connections. Just because you add me to your blogroll doesn’t mean I’m going to add you (though if you ask nicely…).

However, MyBlogLog does give you something extra:

  • Visitor visibility – The ability to see who’s visited a site

Before this, blog comments were the primary means to truly know who’s visited your blog. Unfortunately, only a small percentage of a blog’s readers will write a comment. Now you, and your other visitors, can see your audience. Typical online social networks don’t offer this.

These visitors still aren’t reciprocal connections though (and just because they’ve been to your site once doesn’t mean they’re going to return). But over time, you’ll see repeat visitors. Online social networks gave you the ability to know your audience – if a new visitor wanted to interact with you, he/she typically would add you as a connection.

Now MyBlogLog is providing a new level of visitor visibility. (I see you!)

Author: Mike Lee

An idealistic realist, humanistic technologist & constant student.

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