To all,

I was just thinking about some of the other social networks that are much bigger than BP. It dawned on me that when a group gets large it develops its own voice. It takes on a life of its own. In the case of some the community even starts to developer software that complements and otherwise influences the direction of how the network grows.

In the case of one early site, LinkedIn, the company did not allow members to interact much on the site. I even made suggestions to a couple of the founders but they stuck to their model. Over time they were pushed aside in terms of market capitalization and leadership. Only late in the game did they add the ability to post questions for the community to answer (forums on BP) and other things that let a community interact without direct moderation from the company. In some ways it because worse for LinkedIn as some of the best group conversations happen over on Yahoo groups (LinkedIn specific discussion groups hosted on Yahoo and not tied into LinkedIn). The restrictive model lead people to move to other platforms which has significantly reduced the LinkedIn financial success.

Social networks are pretty fluid. Google has an Open Social effort so that you can easily connect your different groups and not waste time building multiple profiles. It also works in the other direction. You can move your career on and not loose the network investment you made to a platform after you have shifted your focus.

Networks have value and some of the time the value in the future is something you can not anticipate in advance. Who you know can make a difference in the deals you can do. Platforms for networks evolve with the community but can not control or direct the community. The platform needs to adjust to the evolving marketplace and the evolving community for it to remain attractive to people's lives.

Comments and view?