Do you need to be on another social network?

Got this one from Manu –

At first glance, it’s one more social network. It has status updates, friend lists, photo albums, file sharing, link sharing… what really distinguishes it from the others seemed to be 2 features.
1. Private and Public streams. One for your friends, one for everyone on Vyoom.
2. Rewards for everything you do, redeemable for a good collection of cool stuff. Really good, cool stuff.

Public and Private streams – I don’t get it. If you’re a public figure and want the whole world to follow you… use Twitter. If you just want friends to see you… use Facebook. The twin feeds don’t make immediate sense.

Now, let’s look at points in more detail.
Say, I want the Wii, 3 million points. when I sign up, I get a big bonus – 75,000 points. Another whole bunch of points comes from creating wishlists, uploading photos, links, etc… 5000 points. Another 600 for completing profile. I have at least 200 friends that I’m pretty sure I can get aboard, so @5000 points per friend, that’s a million points. Say, another 50,000 for some twitter followers.
Sounds good so far? That’s 1.13 million points already, in just a few days. A third of the way! Doing pretty well, I say!

Not so fast, sunshine.

These are one-time-only points. You do it once, can’t do it again. The rest comes from being active on the site – 5 points per activity. (There’s also points for replying, but it’s not mentioned how many, so I ignore it for now)
On an average, I update my facebook status 3 times a day; which means, on Vyoom, 450 points per month. I need to make another 1.9 million points.
Dude, it’ll take me 346 years to get that Wii!!
Unless I’m making some major miscalculations. Which seems likely. Maybe all the other activities can be done every month, except the profile completion and signup. And, say, I add 10 friends every month. Won’t make me too popular, but what the hell.
The score is now 2.8 years, at average activity levels.
One the other hand… If I freelance 6 articles, each an hour to write, then I can make the money I need to buy it retail. In a day.

Let’s look at a larger issue now. Assuming I can sustain that kind of an activity, what do I really get out of signing up?

Vyoom is brand new. There is no clear USP yet. It’s not business like LinkedIn or timepass like Facebook. There’s no potential large audience like Myspace. It’s not even region-specific (yet) like Orkut or Friendster. Everyone had a Yahoo! id because of Y!Messenger until Gtalk came along… which worked because Gmail had already replaced all other mail services, and everyone had a Gmail id.
The features aren’t very killer, or even startlingly new. FB changed the game with live feeds. Orkut got ahead because ‘everyone was on Orkut’ at least for a while. Everyone else had some first-mover advantage until the feature got incorporated by a bigger site.
So, there’s no reason to be on this parallely to any others.

Why do we come on social networks? In the end, if you get right down to it, it’s because a) someone we wanted to meet was on it, or b) we thought someone we would like meeting would be on it. That’s hygiene. Features are just keepers. And every network gets to be more and more a part of you, as you use it; your history, your friend circle, your interactions, links outside… Moving is progressively more difficult. Try changing your personal email id, or your cellphone  number. It’s possible, but very painfully inconvenient, in most cases. The only reason that would justify a move is the original reason we joined is now gone to somewhere else – which explains the mass Orkut exodus to FB.
So, there’s no reason to replace your existing networks with this.

So why shift?

[Update –
Had a comment from Zane which pointed out some areas I might have missed out, so felt it’s only fair to add on some updates. Read the comments for more details, but here’s 2 that immediately caught my eye –
Realtime streams – which means Vyoom also combines the features of an Instant Messenger.
Page customization, so you can organize everything you get to know about a little better. Something Facebook sorely needs.
I’m still not too sure about the points system, but maybe I’m an atypical user, or Vyoom might update points gathering systems in future to get what you need faster. A free Wii for a year of regular usage is a good incentive regardless.
Still leaves the primary question open – which I guess nobody can really answer – is why change social networks. Orkutters had the same issue with FB, until enough people migrated; once everyone’s on Vyoom, and using it regularly, you would too.
The nearest comparison I can see coming up is
Google Wave, which is supposed to include Realtime conversations (among many other things). The advantage, of course, they will have is that integrating with Gmail and Gtalk will be a matter of course – putting a significant number of your people already in the network.]


One Response to Do you need to be on another social network?

  1. Ashish, your post is inaccurate so I want to explain what Vyoom is all about to your readers. Lets take a deep dive into Vyoom:

    Vyoom was built around the “Real-time” environment. No more “refreshing” ever!

    Vyoom is the only social network that lets you:
    1. View any combination of the things you want to see – from photos to status updates to hotspots and more– all on one page in a real-time stream, eliminating the need to navigate between pages of interest.
    2. Earn points for everyday social activities and friend referrals that can be redeemed for advanced features and social gifts or saved up for items on your wishlist.
    3. Search by timestamp or by keyword on topics of interest across the entire vyoom membership network (Public stream) or just your friends (Private stream).
    4. Engage in real-time conversations with friends and message multiple friends simultaneously.
    5. Share your location with friends, on a permission-only basis, and see where they are on a Google map within your profile.
    6. Share favorite and not so favorite hot spots and reviews of local restaurants, bars, salons, attractions, events and more with your friends.
    7. The Vyoom Reward store has over 300 items to choose from, including HD and Plasma TVs, digital cameras and camcorders, iPods and iPhones, game systems, computers, GPS devices and more to be redeemed with Points.
    8. Vyoom allows members to quickly and easily accumulate points starting the minute they join.
    9. Like a Facebook/Twitter/Amazon/City Search mash-up, but better! Vyoom combines all of today’s popular social functionalities into one.

    Why do YOU need 4-6 websites to visit and log in when you can have ONE streamlined, easy to use platform?

    This is for users that want more innovative features:

    1. Vyoom has true real-time data streaming capabilities, surpassing both Facebook and Twitter.
    2. Vyoom is a true SOCIAL network focused on delivering real-time communication between friends, family and the rest of the Internet.
    3. Vyoom minimizes the amount of clicks and page navigation necessary in other social networks by allowing users to intelligently filter data in both public and private streams in the user interface.
    4. Vyoom has real-time social search capabilities, allowing users to search by timestamp or keyword across the entire Vyoom membership network (public stream) or just their friends (private stream).
    5. Because Vyoom allows members to toggle between public streams and private streams, Vyoom is both an open and a closed network.
    6. Vyoom has the most dynamic functionalities of any social networking site:
    a. Vyoom allows users to organize their pages, files, status updates, information and more through labels that act like folders, making social content more personalized and social search more efficient.
    b. Users can also label their friend’s photos and files, without having to download them to their personal desktop first.
    7. The innovative RPilot allows users to perform multiple social activities at once.
    a. Because the RPilot can be opened on any page within Vyoom, users can have continuous access to real-time data streaming via the social stream in the RPilot.
    b. RPilot also allows users to open multiple friend pages and message to friend simultaneously.
    c. The RPilot eliminates the need to navigate between pages of interest – users can have it all on one page.
    8. A Public stream feature allows users to follow people outside of their immediate network.
    a. The intelligent filtering system on the Vyoom social stream allows users to view the entire Vyoom network or only those they are following.
    9. Vyoom users can link their social stream to their mobile devices and access the friend and hotspot locator, ensuring they can stay connected to their friends no matter when they are.

    In closing, do you like companies that ‘Monopolize” the market? We feel that competition helps all companies to evolve. A great example is what Twitter did to Facebook. They are helping FB become a more “open” network. Also,look at the migration patterns over the last few years of Social Networks. First was Friendster, then MySpace, then Facebook. Users get “tired” of the same network and they end up making a move to the next innovative network.

    Check out Vyoom at www. and tell them Zane Zanzibar sent you!

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