Social, fun, and competitive

My good friend and social entrepreneurship mentor, Alan Harlam, and I were talking and he was telling me about some new exercise regime he’s on called cross training. He described it as: “social, fun, and competitive.”

As is often the case when Alan talks, he says things without recognizing their effortless brilliance.

When he said the words “social, fun, and competitive” I literally stopped him (only partly because as glad as I am that he’s digging cross training or whatever, I could only feign interest in exercise talk for so long).

I really stopped him because “social, fun, and competitive” sums up what you must aspire towards if you hope to have a successful web presence.

If your site/web presence lacks any of these elements you will fail. You will lose to any other site that does feature these elements.

Social (LNKD bubble aside – and, remember, the late-90s Internet stock rise was also a bubble, but – like this social media bubble – when it popped the world was forever changed) and Fun should be apparent.

However obvious it should be to make your web presence social and fun, it’s certainly not simple. How many sites do you know that are fun? I promise you, they’re the ones you spend the most time on …. however you define “fun.”

And, of course, people screw up social all the time. Most frequently, they use “social” tools as a way to share “PR” information about what they’re up to…wrong (the correct ratio of authentic communication (i.e. non PR) to PR is 80/20, by the way).

No, it’s competitive that I think bears a bit of discussion. This doesn’t mean competitive in the Western sense so much as it means incorporating moments of satisfaction based upon some achieved threshold, and cognizance that others are also attempting similar threshold moments.

It can be something as simple (and seemingly non-competitive) as the completion bar on a LinedIn profile, or the civic sharing involved in star ratings on Amzn, to the more overt game mechanics seen on Zynga’s apps.

Have a look at the sites you frequent, and note the number that combine “social, fun, and competitive,” and then look at your web presence. How do you stack up?

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