I have been wondering why people kept on reinventing the wheel and why there's always more than one version of a software application. There is always a reason for inventing and reinventing something. Thomas Edison invented the lightbulb but probably hundreds of companies today are still trying to improve the lightbulb.

People could come up with several reasons but these are my thoughts:

Competition

People love competition. Company A invents a social networking application. Three years after, its flaws are unveiled
and Company B says "Hey, we can do better than you!"

Selective communication for users and a marketing strategy for companies

This means "I just want to see my friends" or more bluntly, "not everybody wants to see everybody." This idea is simplified further and applied to social media for smaller groups, social media for professionals, companies and corporate organizations (yammer and linkedin), social media for students and alumni (eskwela), social media for music enthusiasts (myspace), social media for photography freaks (flickr) and many others. In fact there are some websites who initially didn't have social networking features and they've just decided to incorporate social networking to an existing application.

If you're part of a company who's interested on hiring people to create yet another social networking application, you have to be absolutely sure about your idea. Do you think that social networking features are ideal for your marketing campaign? Regardless of how special you think your application is or will be, will people adopt it when they already have a network of friends somewhere else?

Companies find the idea (of reiventing the social media wheel) profitable

People do things out of greed and think less about consequences and costs. It may be useless to do an intensive financial study or business plan but to be able to forecast your growth and to determine how well your company would go in the next 2 years or so could deter financial problems. If all these precaution don't sink in, just don't even try to work on a social networking application.

Developers want something they can manage
Most developers are aware that a social networking application cannot be completed overnight or within a week or two unless it's built from an open source social networking platform. To develop something from scratch can be very difficult but in the long run, it is a better option as long as the core team are retained. Keep laying off and you will realize the costs later.

My Good Old Friend, Friendster

Facebook can lure people because of its features. It allows you to fully express yourself in several different ways. You can share youtube videos on facebook, for instance. However I just do not like the clutter which makes me feel like facebook is not "my space." And I am not a fan at all.

Friendster has evolved to be less attractive as well but I like the fact that it has not drastically changed or added up needless features. What's best is that most of my real life friends are in friendster.

Conclusion: It's people that matter and not the application. Because of diversity, technical and financial issues, I think that it is ultimately a good a idea to reinvent the social media wheel.

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Hello! I am Kat. I've been a developer for several years. When I'm not sitting down, reading and working for long hours, I am traveling to some place of interest.
If you want to reach out, you can send me an email or add me up on Google Plus.