Social networks have the power to bring people together. The success of the mainstream social networks (Facebook, Linkedin…) shows that people express the desire to remain interconnected in meaningful ways. These companies have succeeded in delivering an environment favorable for socialization.
Despite the bis repetita Web economy boom, many companies fail in their attempt to gather communities on their social platforms. Defining people’s motivations for interacting and socializing is quite a peanut. Enters Crowdvine, a white label social networks that lets you create your own social networks.
Crowdvine is dedicated to let you create your own social network in the most simple manner. Crowdvine is not for searching your long time no see high school buddies. It has been designed to enhance very specific socialization context. Very recently, they have specified their offer by launching a new product for conferences.
I’ve recently had the chance to talk to and interview Tony Stubblebine, founder and ceo of Crowdvine. He best defines the role of his new product as a pre-networking tool:
What we found is that, if you do a little pre-networking on a conference social network beforehand, you’ll have a much better experience at the conference.
Wiki-based events like unconferences gain in social preparedness if they connect through a network beforehand. The Berlin Web 2.0 Expo was pre-networked through Crowdvine.
Kickapps is focused on user-generated content. Ning is focused on having a ton of things for people to do. We’re focused on being the simplest and easiest to use.
In the long term, Tony sees Crowdvine evolve into a social feature built-in directly into other Web applications. Who wouldn’t want this!
An open network attitude is the second characteristic that makes Crowdvine networks so special. It is the only non-partner to release working open-source codes for the Open Social API. Crowdvine supports open standards like OpenID as well. There’s good reasons why Crowdvine focuses on opening up its networks to the world.
First reason is the nature of the product: In a world according to Crowdvine, people join many different networks, meaning tons of sign ups and profile fill outs. Thanks to an OpenID profile, it’s automated. That’s how Crowdvine meets simplicity.
Second reason is social behavior:
The majority of people want to have social interactions.[…] Practically all sorts of Web applications today are built on some sort of social behavior.[…] You start to think about them [the web applications] as components.
Basically, each Web applications are separate behaviors of the same body, and Crowdvine seeks to be part of the centralized system to articulate those behaviors together.
In the end, what is being marketed as a product for conferences is a social networking model that does much more than just that. Crowdvine participates to social platforms’ interoperability and provides concrete solutions to make it happen. I can’t help but re-direct readers to Eric Enge’s interview of Eric Englman, ceo of Bloglines. Both Tony Stubblebine and Eric Engelman have a very generic product (social network/feed reader). However, both of them envision online socialization through open standards and easy-to-syndicate individual online activity.