Friday, September 7, 2007

Online Community

Yesterday I received this question:
I find it interesting that the sidebar of this blog states "We are not a social network and are not trying to be." Netflix now has public profiles, member reviews, member lists, friends lists, etc. How is Netflix NOT a social networking site? Why doesn't Netflix embrace this concept?

I make a distinction - subtle though it may be - between a social network and an online community. In my mind, a social network has as at least one of its objectives as connecting people together... a sort of "meet up." I look at Facebook or MySpace as excellent social networks. Linkedin is kind of a social network, but they seem to self-describe as a business network. It's all about biz, but it's still about hooking up. Netflix is not like these. On the spectrum, i think we're more toward the Wikipedia end -- of lots of value because lots of people contribute and share. I see us as an online community - a group of like-minded folks, bonded by a common interest in movies - using our numbers to help each other. We don't need to meet or know each other, but we can still utilize each other to discover great movies from a very very large collection. That process does involve discerning things about each other, to help give context to suggestions/recommendations. But the purpose isn't for you and me to meet. Anyway, I wanted y'all to know that i wasn't interested in turning this into a dating site. Sometimes people see the word "community" and they get the wrong idea.