By Allan Maurer
Do we really need more social networks? During a recent interview a social media expert for a large corporation told the TechJournal that “A new one pops up every week.”
Some weeks more than one new social network announces its arrival. This week has hardly more than begun an already we see three new ones touting their digital wares.
There is e-Deliberation, a Canadian firm based in Victoria, British Columbia, which headlined its press release, “Social Networking is Dead; Long Live e-Deliberation.”
Established in 2010 by Jean-Daniel Cusin, a serial entrepreneur, the company says “The mission of e‑Deliberation is to bring the Internet experience to the next step: enable people globally to mutually connect, deliberate and collaboratively resolve issues that concern them.”
One of the hallmarks of these startups is a statement of lofty goals.
Here’s Cusin on his vision for e-Deliberation, for instance:
“The events of the past few years have highlighted that when governance systems, be they geo-political or corporate, are controlled by a very few people at the top who are expected to master everything, it’s a disaster.”
But that isn’t all.
He adds, “The world is too complex for that. Too many knowledge domains, too many stakeholders, jurisdictions, potential impacts… If we are to advance as a civilization, we need to leverage the Internet to solve big problems by assembling the right minds and helping them get the job done. That is what we are doing with e-Deliberation.”
Investor research site
Also in today’s news: New York-based Dodilio, describes itself as “The first global network allowing investment professionals to generate, consume, and collaboratively develop customized research products and services on demand.”
It says Dodilio allows investors to quickly and efficiently access the specific information they need, on select social networks and forums that will help them satisfy their investment objectives, improving the quality of research received.
But wait, there’s more
Las Vegas, NV, and Palo Alto, CA-based AlertID has launched the AlertID Secure Social Network.
It’s purpose? “Individuals, families, communities, schools, co-workers, public safety officials and others concerned about the safety of communicating on social networks now have a safe and easy way to share important information quickly.”
AlertID says its network is secure because the company does not scan the content of members’ communication and postings to sell to advertisers or anyone else, nor does it sell information that would personally identify members to advertisers. AlertID’s proprietary platform also prevents search engines from scanning users’ information.
Available features include:
- My Neighborhood: Securely share messages about suspicious persons, crime, missing pets and other neighborhood information, as well as pictures, videos and more with AlertID members in the vicinity of the member’s physical address as well as other areas to monitor such as work, child’s school, and parents’ home in another state, among others.
- My Groups: Safely create private or public groups and invite friends, colleagues, customers and others, either one-by-one or by easily importing contact lists. Groups may or may not be location-based and can be created for schools, homeowner’s associations, public safety organizations, neighbors, families and more. The “group administrator” also has the ability to use the
- AlertID Broadcast System™ (ABS), previously only available to law enforcement and public safety agencies, to send critical alerts via secure mobile notification and email to members of the group, including those for missing children, lost pets, suspicious persons and more.
- Homeland Security Reporting: Easily report suspicious activity directly to the Department of Homeland Security as it happens either from mobile devices, Apple iPads or computers.
We can see how that might be useful in any number of circumstances. The question we have to ask about all these services is how much traction are they going to get? Is the need for them real? Are there enough interested people in these niches to create a going concern?
In fact, these three new social networks all seem to fill special niche needs – although we’re not so sure about e-Deliberation. Many others bring only a few different features to what is essentially a Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Tumblr, Pinterest or Google Plus knockoff. Still three on one Tuesday in October suggests this bandwagon’s wheels are churning at full speed.
We saw a similar stampede to create variations of digital daily deals or electronic coupon sites and services for most of 2011.
One of the reasons three quarters of startups fail is that rather than bringing innovative thinking to meeting consumer, business or professional needs, they tweak existing ideas or create me-too companies that are not likely to go anywhere unless they land enough funding for marketing efforts and most won’t.
Imitation will never replace innovation.
As for marketers, Chris Brooks of Hilton Worldwide, who is giving a talk at the Digital East event going on today and tomorrow (Oct. 2-3) in Herdon, VA, noted that most work with limited budgets and time.
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