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February 20, 2008

Yet Another Social Network

Last week I received at least four requests to join RRU. These days I resist and have actually scaled back my activity on FBOOK and twitter. I have found that some particularly chatty followers can reak havoc on your wireless bill. Turning off notifications is essential, but that is a subject for another entry.

The idea of wisdom of crowds can be a bit overstated at times, but nonetheless I did visit RRU. First, my decision to peruse the landscape was simply due to my admiration and love for my alma mater. Yes, I am a Rattler. However, I am not certain that the folks that built that site are attempting to garnish the collective might of alumni to help a struggling institution. My eyes tell me that it is simply a place to be virtually seen ;)

Because I fancy myself as a technology dude, let's pontificate on the chosen architecture. Shall we. It seems that they are using the Ning the site framework. Marc Andreessen seems to have made quite a large nest of cash with this project. What surprises me is the Ning API seems to provide a decent toolset. Particulary SSL, REST, Open ID, and hooks which could provide meaningful mashups. At a minimum it would make sense to equip RRU with basic SSL capabilities so that your not asking people to sign-up with clear text passwords. Methinks RRU has set up the NING environment as another walled garden to collect data and be disconnected from your other social networking properties. It is worthwhile to note that Andreessen is a fervent advocate of this "Open Social" movement, and the Ning API explicitly supports hooks into the other dozens of social networks. They are missing from RRU probably due to the folks unfamiliarity of the platform. I would imagine that this will change over time.

Judging from the people that I have peeped on the site, many of them are first generation social network participants. Hence, they have no reference point to compare tools and access. Moreover, the allure is the allegiance to your alma mater and the hope that you can reconnect with people that you have chosen not speak to in probably 10 yrs :)

Don't get it twisted. I luv my school and it would be cool to reconnect with some headz, but I know how to get at them outside of another proxy service. It would be great if they were seeking to use the interest level to re-invigorate the alumni. Actually, I don't know what they are trying to achieve. The about page on RRU is rather sparce.

As and aside: I suppose my undergrad experience was different than most, as I was already grown. So, it was more like a job than playland or self-discovery. All I really wanted to do was graduate and begin to make loot. Heh, high school now that was a different story.

Too many social networks.. I'm full now. I'll play the sidelines on this one..

Posted by AG at February 20, 2008 7:00 AM