Friday, September 21, 2007

MTV & Yahoo! -- Social Network Envy

Social networks here, social networks there, social networks everywhere ...

Viacom and Sumner Redstone, still bitter about having missed the MySpace boat (which is said to have been a primary reason for the demise of Tom Freston), are now trying to build their own social network boat. Based on TagWorld's platform "Flux" (the company is now called "Social Project"), MTV is the first in the Viacom family to roll it out under the name "Think MTV." Rather than buy Social Project outright, Viacom reportedly invested $40 million and joins Draper Fisher Jurvetson as backers.

Not to be outdone, and also reeling from a lack of anything close to MySpace or Facebook in the social networking space after the poor performance of "Yahoo 360," Yahoo too has just launched (albeit softly and by invitation only at this point) its new social network dubbed "Mash."

What makes these experiments different from the twin 800 pound gorillas of Facebook and MySpace? And why would the kids leave those densely populated sites where they already can find all their friends and where they have invested so much time and energy?

Because they are "different," say Viacom and Yahoo! And, different is good, right?