Saturday, November 10, 2007

ConnectQuakes

It starts with an innocuous blog post about a social network doing something cool. Then, it's followed by a namedrop in the office of the latest cool new social network. Your email inbox starts to waft the familiar aroma of bac'n. Curiosity piqued, you follow the link, and sign up, and before you know it...you've triggered a ConnectQuake(TM).

What is a ConnectQuake? I'm coining the term, so here's my definition: it's the explosion of connections on a social network that causes your network to grow exponentially. You sign up, invite a few friends. One of those friends signs up, and connects with other folks. You see the connections they've made, and you connect to the connections, and before you know it, the Richter scale needle is jerking like a Blackberry power user who's got no cell signal.

Take Plaxo Pulse, for instance. I continue to maintain that they are the one social network that will become the standard, primarily because of their embracing of the already-proliferating feeds and publishable components from the sites you already use. When Pulse first launched, a couple of months ago, I got a lot of "Oh no, not another social network Facebook-wannabe" responses from the invites I sent. I linked those naysayers to my blog post on why Plaxo is better than Facebook, and a few of them changed their minds. A selected few embraced it, and I saw they connected with dozens more. Now, I see almost a hundred updates of people connecting to each other in my network, and their extended network, as I connect to their connections. A full-on ConnectQuake.

Some of these ConnectQuakes have aftershocks: connections of connections come on, and one person gets REALLY into it, adding dozens of new connections. Some of them are like the typical Bay Area quakes: sharp jolts that quickly stop, after the initial connections (think Tom on MySpace, or Kevin Smith on Facebook). Some are downright exasperating (like this guy Jacques Pats-Nougu├Ęs on Plaxo). But most ConnectQuakes are undulating waves, with your connections adding about 10 or so people, with a few more over the next week, and a subsequent few degrees of separation connecting. They're fun to see happen, and amazing to watch the needle move.

So, don't fear the quake. Connect with it.

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