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Common Characteristics of Successful Social Networking/Web 2.0 Sites

In the following, we compare the functions of popular web 2.0 services Flickr (f), youtube (y), myspace (m), facebook (c), wikipedia (w), blogger [as an example of blogs] (b), twitter (t),second life (s), (d), and digg (i). The result is also available as an excel-file.

It is also interesting to see which characteristics are shared by successful sites that are usually not considered web 2.0, like [bulletin board systems] (bb), Amazon (a), Netflix (n), or forum systems (o)

(italic services haven't been thoroughly analyzed yet, please fill out characteristics for services you know)

Technical Characteristics/Functions
  • require registration (f,y,m,c,b,t,s,d,i,bb
    • with valid email-address (f,y,m,c,b,s,i

  • User Profile
    • user name (f, y, m, w, b, t, s, d, i, bb
    • public real name (f, y, c, b, t, d
    • real name (f, y, m, c, b, t, s, d, i, bb
    • age (y, m, c, b, s [2x], i, bb
    • profile-picture (f, (y: video-still), m, c, b, t, s [2x], i
    • contact (f, y, m, c, w, b, i
      • e-mail (f, c, w, b,
      • IM (f, m, c, b, i
      • homepage (f, y, c, b, i
    • sex (f, y, m, c, b, s [2nd], i [private], bb
    • relationship status (f, y, m, c, s [2nd]
    • interests/blurbs about oneself (f, y, m, c, w, b, s [2x]
    • job/school (f, y, m, c, b
    • location (f, y, m, c, b, s [2nd], i, bb
      • complete address (c, s [2nd]
  • current status (m, c, t, s [2nd]
  • favorites (inside the system, not the standardized way via feeds and manual links)
    • Users/friends (f, y, m, c, t, s, d, i
    • user contributions (f, y, c, t, d, i
    • list of friends' favorites (f, y, i
  • recommendations (d,
    • from/to other users (d,
    • based on profile (
    • based on own recommendations (
    • based on own contributions (
  • personalized homepage (f, y, m, c, w, b, t, s [character], d, i
  • personally-styled homepage (m, w, b, t, s [character], bb

  • contribute own content (f, y, m, c, w, b, t, d, i, bb
    • text [free topic, not only comment or other topic-restricted textbox] (f, c, m, w, b, (t - only 140 chars, only status), i, bb
    • video (y, m, s, bb
    • photo (f, m, c, w,(b integrates picasaweb), s [textures], bb
    • 3d models (s,
    • bookmarks (d, i,
    • files (w, bb
  • tagging
    • own contributions (f, y, c, w (categories), b, d
    • people (
    • hidden/private tags (d,
  • rate contributions (y, i

  • create contributions collaboratively (w, s
  • create a collaborative set of contributions (f, y, b [by allowing many authors], s, d, i, bb
  • commenting system (f, y, m, c, w [discussion-page], b, i
  • tagging other users' contributions (f, c (need to be approved),
  • respond to contributions (y, w [internal backlinks], b [standard backlinks], t, (d: copy bookmark with own comment), i [standard backlinks]
  • In-network-messaging (f, y, m, c, w, s, bb
  • Invite friends to the site (f, c, m, t, i
  • create groups of users (f, m, c, s,
  • overview over changes/new contributions (f, c, w, t, i, bb

  • Access Control List (f, y, m, c, b, t, s, d
    • Individual Users (
    • Groups (f, y, m, c, b, t,
    • individual acl-groups (
  • RSS-feeds (f, y, b, t, d, i
  • search for user contributions (f, y, w, b, d, i, bb
  • search for other users (f, m, c, i
  • API to include its functions in other applications/websites (f, w, b, t, s, d, i, [bb fidonet]
  • API to add own functions/functions from other sites (m(very restrictive), c, b, s, [bb fidonet]
  • "API" to include contributions in mash-ups/other sites (f, y, w, b, t, s, d, i, [bb fidonet]
  • related contributions (y, w top-lists (f, y
    • most recommended (i,
    • best rated (y, i
    • most viewed (y,
    • most interesting/discussed/popular (f, y, d, i
    • top favorites (f, y,
    • most recent (f?, y?, d, i

According to the (popular) Web2.0 mindcloud L10N, characteristics typical for web 2.0 are:

  • Participation
  • Usability
  • Economy
  • Design
  • Standardization
  • Remixability
  • Convergence
  • Focus on Simplicity
  • Joy of Use
  • AJAX
  • The Long Tail
  • Affiliation
  • CSS-Design
  • Web Standards
  • Microformats
  • DataDriven
  • OpenAPIs
  • RSS
  • Mobility
  • Video
  • Audio
  • Blogs
  • Social Software
  • Recommendation
  • Folksonomy
  • Wikis

Last modified 14 January 2008 at 1:45 pm by hodie