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Presently everyone is developing the next MySpace or Facebook. It seems like Dairy Farmers have one, Astronauts have one, even dog walkers have one. Social Networks are the growing fad of every .com and every brick and mortar. If you have a website, the latest goal is to extend its functionality with a social network. The company I work for is no exception… we are releasing ours at the end of the month.
And I get it. It makes sense. If you can empower your users to dive in and exude brand excitement then you have the beginnings of a product tsunami on your hands. Empower the truly excited members of your clique and cut them loose to inform and proselytize. Why buy Google ad words when you can unleash your minions virally? It used to be that A (Company) + B (Advertising) = C (sales). That B factor seems to be transforming from advertizing into viral empowerment. And the cool thing about viral empowerment is that its free. Well… it used to be anyway. Its lightening in a bottle – some have caught it once. But to catch it twice is neigh on impossible. And to monetize that lightening into said bottle has become an expensive prospect.
Thus the large gambits being made on social networks. Develop a playground for your brand elites to play and maybe they will synergize a lightening + bottle experiment into existence for you. It makes sense. I wonder if in three years though we will see 99% of all these bets falling flat on their faces. I actually make a bet that that will be the case. Users will be tolerant of plugins into their current social network of choice but please don’t ask them to pick up their roots and move to your niche lil playground. Its just not going to happen.
So I was more than a little skeptical when I first heard of a project under development entitled the World Wide Open. www.worldwideopen.org – this is a global community to allow fellow Christians to come together with the goal of helping each other out. It is my idea of the Gorilla Labs concept at the grass roots level. Its beautiful in concept. Doctors, Lawyers, Farmers… all networking to fill needs within the body of Christ. I’m thinking this is really what Acts was all about. Very interesting thought really. What would happen if Christians world wide came together to share their expertise in whatever it is they are experts in? Underwater Basket Weaving. Croquet. Ping Pong… Whatever. It’d be cool. What if that knowledge was counseling, AIDS relief, well building, money pooling… it’d be amazing. I’m thinking I like the idea the more I think about it. Here’s to you guys at World Wide Open. I raise my glass your direction and wish you the absolute best.
For example… let’s say I was a Non-profit President in need of a website. I pull up WWO and within 2 minutes you do a search and find a web developer. Now, obviously, not everyone that is an expert at something is going to jump on every opportunity to serve there is. Sure. But at least he can get tips from this expert on how best to proceed and move forward. And this will be advice the President can trust… well, at least most probably anyway, right? The connectivity possibilities are practically limitless. Here’s a web guy I found with a simple search. And there were only 800 people on the roster so far. (It is after all in beta… and most of the functionality isn’t lit up yet.) Pretty interesting really.
Too rarely do we see world-wide gambits of this sort undertaken because of the potential risk and exponential cost attributed. But I commend the guys of World Wide Open for giving it a go regardless of the outcome. It is this kind of big picture thinking that is severely lacking within the body of the Church right now. How are we globally thinking to solve world wide pandemics as Christ’s Church is supposed to be doing daily?
I’m just sayin.