all articles

birth of welogger 1 - values of social networks

2017-07-17 @sunderls

welogger

So here I'm going to talk about the birth of welogger.com.

Currently only a few beta users are on this network, and sorry that I can't shed more light on the details of how welogger is working, but I'll list up the backgrounds of why welogger came to its birth, and also some thoughts about current Social Networks such as Facebook/Twitter .etc.

Chaos

In 2011, I graduated from Peking Univ. and started my career as a product designer at weibo.com, the dominating micro-blogging service in China, 'China version of Twitter' may sounds more easy to grasp. Anyway, the time there was cool, we were in an age when anything was possible, since the Networks were still in Chaos, nobody knows what kind of networks will service to the end. Facebook and Twitter were the leaders, and followed by others, I was one of them.

I was still young, sill had the dream to change the world, by creating a new service which is used by millions of people. And welogger.com is one of the dreams. In the Chaos age, the networks are still in their primitive state, the stayed in their most simple form, all are distinguishable. (not like nowadays).

THE DREAM had another service name at that time, and I tried to create a website, and an iOS app to give it birth, yet, all of the demos were far from being worthy a try, because it was hard to understand and seemed useless.

And time flew away, six years had passed. I moved to Tokyo, started a new career as an Front-End Engineer, and got married. Normally the dream should be forgotten, yet it strived, got bigger, and more clear.

Facebook

Honestly I don't use Facebook very often, open it once or twice a month. This is because, yeah I think you already knew, we had a China version of Facebook and Facebook is theoretically unaccessible from China. Renren.com stood at the Facebook position but it didn't go well and there is honestly no China version of Facebook now, if I have to pick up a candidate, it should be WeChat, whoops.

Facebook stands as the real social networks, friends there basically have real-life connections. This makes it a real good place to tell your friends what you are doing right now and catch up with your circles.

Facebook is dominating because it is, no reason. People thought there would be no another social network, and they are wrong. Facebook is powerful but it is not almighty. There is a well known saying in China, "That which is long divided must unify; that which is long unified must divide."(合久必分,分久必合). It is so strong that it leaves some network holes for other scenarios.

It is not simply because it became harder to use, it is not a UX thing. Let's do some analysis about the posts.

We I post on Facebook, I think twice before sending, I consider the audience and the outcome of this post, since friends there knows me in reality, I don't want cause some bad impressions on myself, of course. And the timeline of facebook.com is doomed to be a place of showing off, a place to tell others I'm doing pretty damn good, a place with filtered information.

Posting on Facebook is not simple, sometimes stressful. Thus posts and images on Facebook have more "homogeneous human labour" in them, which in turns making Facebook a valuable place.

Twitter

Well on Twitter, things are different. Most friends relations are merely a RSS-subscription, people fell free to post anything they want. What they do mostly is help posts flow & grow by simple tapping 'Retweet'. People of course want more followers, more Likes , more retweet, but they don't consider too much before posting, because there is seldom consequence.

Compared to Facebook, their posts have less "homogeneous human labour" which makes it less valuable. It suffers more from fake news & insults .etc.

And what people expect from Twitter is basically not catching up with what's going on in there circles, but expect useful information of topics they are interested in, or just sone funny GIFs, or videos, or just some jokes.

Twitter knows this, they are turning themselves to a news service, by adding Moments & Live casts.

Instagram

Honestly I don't use Instagram. From my point of view, it is a photo sharing service, enabling people to show-off where they are , what they are eating, and get Likes.

From Instagram you can see the proof of "That which is long unified must divide.". Instagram set its tone to photos, which are far more interesting & easier to understand, compared to Facebook posts which contains all kinds of formats.

You have to use filters! To make your photo more attractive, you have to try again and again and again before deciding the pose & angles, you have to try again and again and again before deciding the filters and contrasts.

This flow leads to posts containing even more "homogeneous human labour" than Facebook.

They on Instagram care about the quality of photos.

Wechat & Line & .etc

These chat app are basically tools, enabling instant chatting, but they also have timelines. Will they prevail? I don't know, WeChat has a prevailing timeline(Moments), which millions & millions use it every day, because the absence of Facebook replacement in China, WeChat timeline is just the very right substitute. So the timeline should be taken the same as Facebook's.

Value

Here is the conclusion I got:

The labor users put in their posts decide the value of the posts, and the value of the platform.

Why talking about values? Because the value decides whether the platform will be abandoned by users. From my point of view, twitter is the most dangerous one, it doesn't have the real friends relations and have much cheaper posts.

Welogger

But above is only one of the many ways of judging. Welogger tries to create a platform of valuable posts, with no junks no spam no ads, just real value which is not decided by "homogeneous human labour", freeing people from stress before or after posting.

You might wonder what the posts are ? The answer is - history.