The social web weekly: a quick-fire roundup of some of the news, announcements and conversations that have occurred throughout the week…
- Yahoo's new social job network: Kickstart. Yahoo is currently seeking feedback from students on a new social network called "Kickstart" which aims to connect college students with alumni at the companies that they are interested in joining. Built around the central feature of showing students their "in" -- the alumni they need to connect with -- and how they are already related, the site also provides background information on companies, user profiles (with a resume), and how other users are connected to the each other and the company in question. Think of it as a part Facebook, part LinkedIn, with an overall focus on exploiting college graduate networks. Even though the site exists only as a research project, meaning that it won't definitely launch, it looks to have strong ingredients for success: a clearly defined demographic, focus and genuine problem that it's trying to solve. I also believe that social networking sites that link to existing off-line networks have much greater utility.
- MySpace kills startup. TechCrunch reports that TellThem.mobi, a service that lets you message all of your MySpace friends from a mobile phone, has been threatened with legal action by the News Corp.-owned social networking site, because the service breaks MySpace's terms and conditions. The complaint centers around TellThem serving as a proxy for logging into a user's MySpace account. "The concern is that services like this could be phishing sites collecting credentials for malicious use. Jason Cox, of TellThem said collecting the credentials was necessary because there is no API for accessing the messaging functionality they use." This, of course, wouldn't be an issue on Facebook, with its sanctioned developer platform. MySpace has hinted at plans to eventually roll out its own public APIs, which, presumably, would allow for services like TellThem to operate in the future.
- Are "events" sites dead? Muhammad Saleem has written an interesting post which argues that specialist event sites such as Yelp or Upcoming.org may have their days numbered. The popularity of the major social networking sites (MySpace, Facebook et al.), all of which have added their own event functionality, is squeezing the usefulness of these events-only sites. I'd also add micro-blogging services such as Pownce into the mix too. At the end of the day, if event functionality is replicated across a number of social web services, specialist or not, it will come down to network effects. In other words, the winner will be the site that you and all of your friends/colleagues use, which, right now, is probably Facebook.
- Facebook users force HSBC into a U-turn. Evidence that Facebook can be used as a powerful lobbying can be found amongst students in the UK who were unhappy at HSBC's plans to charge interest on their bank account overdrafts, once they graduate. The BBC reports that HSBC made a dramatic U-turn after thousands of students on Facebook had threatened to boycott the bank.