At B3TZ world headquarters we think a lot about social networks — mainly because we think we’re building a social network with a prediction game a the center.
On Brad Feld’s blog today his guest blogger William Hertling takes a stab at a way to wrap his brain around the growth dynamics of social networks, and he does IMVHO a decent job of avoiding academic rigor but laying out a pretty interesting way to talk about some of the key drivers. I think the article — and esp. the comments that follow! — are worth a read, but here are my top three takeaways from the perspective of the game we’re making:
1) A network that has a benefit when even two friends connect will see easier initial adoption than one that requires a dozen friends to connect.
2) [from Meredith in the comments section] Social networks 2.0 offer unique benefits or some core value beyond your friends and acquaintances – Instagram being the perfect example in allowing people to enjoy the photography of strangers and do cool things with their own photos in an easy way.
3) Social gaming is interesting, because it provides benefit even when connected to no one, the benefit increases when connected to strangers, and then increases even more when connected to friends.
B3TZ is still a ways off on brining head-to-head gaming dynamics back, but we’re designed to grow without H2H, and even with it we’re aiming at value even from playing with as single friend. This stuff is already religion for us <g>.