Community Opportunities

While BBS and IRC could technically be called communities, I’d still consider my first major experience with a community to be blogging. It wasn’t the kind of social communities that we see now, this was more a set of people who frequented each others’ blogs, but used names like well, manuscrypts. Yes, it is a remnant of those days. 🙂 With the advent of the likes of Facebook, communities started getting built basis real world relationships. With a business network like LinkedIn, it became even more focused, in this case, a set of people who you dealt with (or potentially could) in a business scenario. So, why have I been giving you the nostalgia talk?

Well, I still believe that blogging is a good form of communities, though social networks and micro blogging are the rage. While I have a good rapport with my Twitter crowd, I have known several of the people who comment on my blog, for years now. Over these years, they have become good friends. So, the news that Live Journal, a major blogging platform, has made special plans for India,  was very heartening. Now I’ve never used LJ, I started with rediff, moved to blogger, and am using WordPress for this blog, but I’ve known several who swear by it. We’ll come back to their offering in a while, but there’s an interesting flash fiction contest they’ve launched in association with Caferati, you might want to check it out. I’d have loved Blogger or WordPress to give India some attention (or have they already?) since they are extremely popular here, but the WP guys, i guess, are busy with Buddypress, a social network based on the multi user version of WP. Its supposed to have all the stuff that a social network should have and is expected to be completely out by December.

Like I said, blogging still has the potential to build communities. In the case of LJ, I have always thought that they were for the constantly updating kind of blogger, not the constantly ‘upgrading’ kind. Let me clarify that, since it might be misconstrued. By ‘upgrading’ I only meant the tendency to tweak around, play with code (even if you don’t know s**t about it, in my case), test out new platforms, and finally get their own domain. So, the name fits, as does the contest idea. In the case of WP, it’s a great place to be once you’re comfortable with blogging, I’ve even seen people start with WP. And that starting up crowd will exist for sometime. As more experienced bloggers move on, there will be guys who discover blogging. A community will actually be a great way to encourage stickiness. Coming back to LJ’s action points, they are aiming at localisation (translation and multilingual interfaces), Socialisation, and Integration (accessible through many platforms). The first one is quite important especially considering that Orkut has made quite some strides in this area. Like I have said before, I can’t understand why Orkut can’t link with Blogger, for blogs + friends communities. Hope LJ’s plans make them think about this.

Okay, now that’ve you digested the LJ news, check this out. LinkedIn has got India specific plans too. They estimate the Indian market potential to be about 20 million users. To give you a perspective, their current global base is 25 million users, and India’s share is 1 million. They’re looking at a few strategic players locally, to help build their brand. If you notice, they already allow you to add contacts from Rediff and Indiatimes. A tie up with a local brand would definitely be a win-win. Imagine seeing a job on Naukri and being able to recommend your friend for it with his LinkedIn profile link. LinkedIn can have contextual listings provided from naukri’s base and share revenues. References are made easier with LinkedIn data. And a job portal/aggregator is not just the only kind of strategic alliance. An entity like Criticat, for instance, which lets you rate companies and share experiences would also be a great fit. There are indeed tremendous possibilities, which could result in increased transparency in at least the HR/Recruitment/Work Culture part of the business.

until next time, jobs ahead 😉

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