There have only been a handful of killer applications for the Internet (not definitive of course):
- Instant Messenger
Maybe you don’t consider Myspace a killer application, but you do have to consider it as a killer-something. In any case all of these apps have one thing in common and that’s their ability to help users communicate. Communication has and will always be the killer feature of the Internet and arguably any period of time. Anything that makes communication between individuals easier will most likely become a success.
So as a business what can you learn from Myspace and how it allows people to communicate with each other? Let’s have a look at some things.
This is what Myspace is based around. You can leave comments on a user’s profile page or send them messages that they can check in their inbox. It’s really no different than an email, except for one thing. With email there is a sense that you have to respond to the individual and uninvited emails hit our inbox everyday. With Myspace only the Friends you approve can send leave comments and there is no need to respond, but I guess it would be the cool and polite thing to do.
Note: You may wonder how a site like Myspace gets so many pageviews and once you play around with it you can easily see one of the reasons is that they force you back onto their site if you wish to see private messages or comments sent to you. Annoying, yet brilliant at the same time.
As a company does this mean you should open up a way for your customers to communicate with you? Well hopefully you have some form of contact on your site so that they can at least email and if you have a blog maybe taking the Myspace approach to “friends” could work wonders. I don’t think every company should open up comments to the world, but doing so to a select group would help both the company and the customers out in the long run.
Planting the seeds to community growth
If you are looking at building the “next great thing” think about how you can make it easier for your users to communicate with each other. You think online games such as World of Warcraft are popular because people like to feel alone? Sure in the end every successful online game or social application look as though its success is based around the community, but if those first people aren’t able to effetively communicate then you will not have a community to promote.
The current 9rules model would not work if there weren’t forums in place to help members communicate amongst each other, but even that isn’t good enough. Next we created an IRC Chat to help communication between not only members, but readers as well. Even that isn’t enough and in the next phase of 9rules you will see a more effective model of communication between our readers and members, which in turn should allow for a more thriving public online community.
There are a lot of reasons why Myspace is popular and a great thing about it is the people that I have been able to connect with from years past. Never would I have thought I would be able to say what’s up to some of these people and because of Myspace and it’s asynchronous communication methods, people aren’t ashamed to drop a line because it’s much easier talking online than it is face-to-face for some reason.