Monday, July 21, 2008
Build a Social Network to Solve Your Problem
I'm continually amazed at how quickly a social network can spring up given the right type of problem.
I could list off any number of sites that have come into existence -- seemingly out of nowhere -- because one person decided to use software to try to solve an issue. One of those -- Help a Reporter -- is really starting to gain traction.
One issue that all journalists face is tracking down the right sources given a limited amount of time before deadline. It's a soul-crushing feeling watching the minutes tick away as you desperately try to find someone who is both knowledgeable and articulate. I would argue that a huge failing in journalism is developing that skill.
Peter Shankman's site aims to solve that in two ways: Allow journalists to post queries which can be distributed to interested parties and allow potential sources to sign up to offer their assistance.
It's Match.com for the media and there are currently 15,000 people signed up to the service. There are some rules -- no spam, don't reply to queries you can't answer -- and it will be interesting to see how those are policed as the site grows.
Is this revolutionary? Not really. It's simply using the tools that exist today to solve a very specific problem. Nothing new has been created. No new ideas have been spawned.
But that's a bit disingenuous on my part because while there is nothing new created, there has been a groundswell of activity around the site. That means something of value has been created.
In a modern world, that's the key to success. Creating "things" is -- and always will be -- important; however, creating networks to solve problems is what is sustaining.
By Brad at 12:19 PM | Comments (2)