The sandbox just got bigger – taking advantage of the network

I ran across a quote (emphasis added) yesterday in  a post on Rowan Simpson’s blog where he was summarizing his time at Webstock.

Tom Cotes, who gave the best explanations I’ve heard to date for why it’s important to think outside of your own little sandbox. Succeeding online means thinking about how to take advantages of the network rather than just simply trying to build the best website.

I love this quote.  In fact I’ve printed it off and put it on my wall.  The Internet has changed and is changing and while it’s always been a network of computers, it’s moving toward a network of interconnected people and websites.

So in building a website or revamping one, the question can’t be “how do we draw everyone here and keep them here” but how do we produce content, or features that fit into the daily lives of Internet users?

Now, there might be some Goliath sites may not have to conform to these new “rules” as immediately because of their sheer magnitude, but take newspapers for example.  Here in Knoxville our local paper is owned by Scripps, and they’ve attempted to bring about a  social-media-esque way of working with the news.  They didn’t do this because this is what they were used to. They do it because they have to do it to compete.

For Abunga this means, where and how can we leverage the power of the network? It involves asking, is this feature networkable?

We’ve got a great site, but how do we plug into that network so it’s easier for you to use us?

What do you think?  Is he off base?  Am I off base?

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5 Responses to “The sandbox just got bigger – taking advantage of the network”


  1. 1 rowan February 20, 2008 at 1:57 pm

    Thanks Gavin.

    If I’d known this quote was going to end up printed out and hanging on a wall I might have taken more time over it!
    :-)

  2. 2 gbaker February 21, 2008 at 9:20 am

    I liked it just how it was! Seriously, it really words on paper of some thoughts I’ve had for a while. Thanks.

  3. 3 Casey February 25, 2008 at 2:21 pm

    Gavin,

    In my opinion and from my experiences your core user group drives the social capital your site, Abunga is this case, develops over time. A much simplere answer is: Bring in the people you want to your community, engage them and feed them with information and culture. Over time, they’ll be the largest factor for why others visit your site and stick around (or leave).

    -Casey

  4. 4 gbaker February 27, 2008 at 10:43 am

    Casey,

    Thanks for your post. Great point about the community becoming the largest factor while people come back.

    Thanks.

    Gavin

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