In community based sites, the site is only as big for the user as the number of friends they have. It really doesn’t matter if Twitter has 100 million users or Facebook has 300 million, for me the amount of time i am going to spend is only related to number of friends I have. My page views will be directly related to number of transactions (wall posts/tweets ) i make and this would be dependant on number of connections i have. Since the monetization will take place on the page view or the transaction so your real rise is going to come from increasing the number of friends they have. Of course getting new users is a way to increase page views but you should understand that a community site with a million users who do not communicate with each other is really not a community. When the existing number of members make new connections the number of transaction rises exponentially.
Following are some learning from Facebook, Orkut and Twitter on what ways they use to make users create more connection with other users.
Orkut: Remember that “who visited my profile recently” tab. You would login to Orkut and visit every profile in that section and probably end up making new friends. Whenever you visited your friends scrap to reply or post a new scrap you would check profile of other people who had left a scrap earlier. This would get your profile in that user’s “who visited your profile recently” section and hence you would get discovered by new people and make friends. This is how you reached to friend’s friends and the connections increased.
Facebook: “Suggested friends” is one great tool that Facebook devised to address this issue. But in that case you are not allowed to peep into the profile and actually check out the users. Also in that case its mostly the real life friends that you find. The comments left by friend’s friends on his activity (or pic) stream or comments left by friends on their friend’s activity stream is actually a successful way adopted by Facebook to invoke you to explore new people and make more friends, even if there is some privacy issue with that because otherwise there was no way you could peek into other users’ profiles and get attracted to friend him (sorry, her).
Twitter: The hot and happening! Hope I dont need to explain here. How do you find new people to follow other than using Mr. Tweet? Take a guess. Here’s a clue: Fill in the missing alphabets in this series “Q, W, E, _ _ ,Y,U,I,O,P “. And Twitter is going big on this feature by officially including it in the site and releasing the API as well.
So what are you doing to make the users create more connections and make more transaction? Doing something better/unique? Do share it with the community here.
[Naman is a startup enthusiast and has worked with couple of Indian startups as Product Manager. He is the founder of FindYogi]