Evaluating Social Network Services

Ryze has the clunkiest interface of the four major social network services — your personal home page starts with a two column profile that is professionally oriented, but has difficulty if you have more then one affliliation. Below this standard profile you can use some HTML to create a better looking section, but for non-HTML users it is difficult. Finally, the page ends with a Guestbook, which other other service members can post comments in.

One of my favorite features in Ryze is that when you click on a friend or potential friend, it shows you all the connections that you have between yourself and that person through your friends and friends of friends. Related, once you sign in the site home page will show you small pictures and first names of various friends of friends, and you’ll sometimes recognize some of them and ask them to join your network.

One of the most interesting things about Ryze is its orientation toward having physical gatherings, such as parties. There various events going on every week. As they charge for many of these events, thus Ryse has sort of a business model.

The worst thing about Ryze is that it is a little too open by default. To add someone as a friend takes a single click, and you get no opportunity to say why someone should join your network. Though that makes it easier to add people, on the receiving side I ended up with a number of people who wanted to add me as a friend when I had no idea who they were.

Tribe– Each tribe has a message board, so ‘intentional communities’ is an important part of this service. In fact, this site almost hides your professional information, putting it under a secondary tab, but unfortunately, this tab also only allows for one affiliation per member.

Another unique thing about Tribe is the classified listings — you see on various pages listings of requests and to a lesser extent offers from your social network. The biggest weakness with Tribe.Net is that it lacks the ability to personalize very much. Your personal home page is mainly lists, and thus your personalization is largely limited to your photo.


This social networking service is designed originally for dating.
The nicest thing about Friendster is its simplicity. There are 13 entries to fill out, ranging from gender to favorite movies. Unfortunately the site has become a bit over-popular with the under-25 crowd lately, so it can be very slow in the evenings. Because it was a dating site, the photo links are important, and the actual photos show up larger on this site then they do on any other site, making your photo on your personal page even more important.

The biggest weakness to Friendster is also that simplicity — it is not oriented toward professional connections, nor to your group affiliations. It is just about you and your immediate friends. This makes Frienster the most “status” oriented of the various sites. It becomes more important to see how many friends you have, and how many endorsements you can get.

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