The 6 Basic Principles of Building Social Products:
1. Social Graphs are already Established.
Do not reinvent the wheel and try to build social graphs again from scratch on your product.
2. Social Graphs get built over a period of time.
a. Over years – Users have made friends on Facebook, added professional contacts on LinkedIn or followed people on Twitterb. It will take loads of time, effort and patience if you try to build them again.Google+ is attempting this – we can wait and watch if it succeeds.
3. Don’t build Social Products for sharing content & driving additional traffic.
a. Most social products are built with this intention – sharing content and hence driving more trafficb. Existing social graphs are powerful and already allow sharing of content to drive viral traffic.
4. Build Social Products that add value to users.
There are many tasks and products that can be built outside existing Social Platforms which can add value to end users. While existing social graphs are established, users have a Usage Mindset about them, this is biggest incentive to build innovative social products.
5. Don’t arbitrage value through your product.
There is immense value in integrating directly with social platforms like Facebook & Twitter, do not try to arbitrage this value through your product. Users (if it is a B2C product) or Merchants / Publishers (if it is a B2B product) will at some point of time realize this and abandon your product to integrate/use directly.
6. Don’t build – but leverage Social Graphs!
Rome was not built in one day! And so are Social Graphs. Choose the one that fits most with your product use case and leverage it.