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Best advice ever on starting a social networking website
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Jeff Jarvis (via Ad Sales Blog) shares a great anecdote that makes a crucial point about creating social networking sites:

…a powerful newspaper publisher beseeched Mark Zuckerberg, the young founder of the hugely successful social network Facebook, for advice on how he could build and own his community.

The famously laconic Zuckerberg replied “You can’t.”

Zuckerberg went on to explain that communities already exist and the question these magnates should ask instead is how they can help them to do what they want to do. Zuckerberg’s prescription was “elegant organisation”.

You may create the site, but you won’t create — or own — the community. Even if the members of that community haven’t met yet, you can only provide an online space that helps them to do what they want to do.

Forget that and you’ll learn a painful lesson when they all pick up and leave for a new home for their community.

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