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The Power Users Are Revolting | TechCrunch

Stashed in: User Generated Content, Community, Attention, Growth Hacks!, PandaWhale Mentions, Community, @joshelman

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Hmm... really interesting perspective that speaks to Panda's earlier point about the competition for time in "In the Studio," Greylock's Josh Elman..."

GREAT article, Barbara. Jon Evans has my full attention:

Digg, which in its heyday was effectively run by its power users, is dying. Wikitravel is probably joining it: two-thirds of its admins want to jump ship to the greener grass of the Wikimedia Foundation. Who in turn have their own people problems–a stubborn gender gap and a diminishing number of active admins. Meanwhile, across the Web, people are asking “Is StackOverflow being ruined by its moderators?”

There’s a common thread here. Site starts up; site scales; a power-law minority of its users become its key community, and if/when that community withers, the entire site is endangered. The examples above are edge cases who explicitly assign admin rights to unpaid users, or take the power law to its extreme. But they indicate a larger point.

Like it or not, we live in the Age of Social Media, and the wars for dominance have begun. Facebook bought Instagram as a defensive move. They’re clearly in Google’s sights–and before you laugh, bear in mind that Google+ traffic is apparently up 43% since December and now surpasses LinkedIn’s. Path is gunning for Facebook too, whether they admit it or not. just set its sights on Twitter. Meanwhile, Reddit is rampant, Pinterest just erupted out of nowhere, and Quora continues to underachieve.

I do hope he's wrong about this:

Not that I’m all that excited about this. I share with Dalton Caldwell the dark suspicion that the relentless spread of monetization means that average users will ultimately be the losers of the social wars, and eventually we’ll be reminiscing about these good old days. But let’s hope I’m wrong.

And here is his most important point:

Users will only stay if they find a community there, whether it’s public like Quora, semi-public like Twitter, semi-private like Facebook, or private like Path.

Thank you for calling this article to my attention, since I don't read all of TechCrunch anymore, and I would have hated to miss something like this!

We are amazed and humbled by the PandaWhale community, and are figuring out how to grow while at the same maintaining our values and our common interests.

Has anyone seen articles on how all social networks seem to collapse under their own weight? I'm thinking Yogi Berra-- no one goes there anymore, it's too crowded.

While freindster had a host of issues with scaling the servers, it seems like scaling the community might have gotten them just as fast. Myspace rose and fell, and Facebook seems to be struggling now that everyone is connected to their ex-boyfreind, their aunt and their naughty sorority sister. Any of you that have belonged to popular mailing lists or groups have seen the rise, splinter and often fall... even the Well. Can any social site grow and keep their community entire and healthy? Or are we humans just too damn messy?

Twitter seems to be succeeding at growing and keeping the community healthy.

I think future innovation in this area really is going to come from from companies that can figure out how to keep communities alive and growing. New social networks have to take existing forms as a given and leverage them as transports. I think that's one of the most interesting things about PandaWhale. You've created an interest-based community on top of existing Facebook, Twitter and Linkedin communities.

My attenshun, u haz it.

Thanks Barbara.

The real question is, what happens as more and more people want to join and participate.

How to keep this service interesting, intelligent, and civil?

Well, THAT, my friend is the key question.

Part of the challenge I think is that different communities have different standards for "interesting, intelligent and civil." Seems to me that finding different ways to separate communities is really key.

I haven't put my finger on it, but that's something of the difference between Twitter and say, Facebook. Twitter lets those communities be "out there" just filtering twitter streams with hashtags. Facebook has you come to their central site and then go to groups to have those private-ish conversations.

You have a really interesting model here where the conversation starters are "out there" and but we come here to Pandawhale to chat. You then allow the conversations to flow back out to other homes through FB, Twitter & Linkedin.

Its as if we're birthing a new generation of social network that assumes the existing infrastructure of other networks. I'm very interested in Best Practices here, obviously.

Me, too, Barbara.

It feels like we're figuring out the "Best Practices" as we go.

I'm hoping we won't have to adopt an admin model like Reddit and Wikipedia.

But we'll see.

Whatever happens, we'll adapt.

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