Yahoo’s social networking tool “Yahoo Mash” offered up a good first entry into the social networking space by a major player. But I’m noticing how it seems to be languishing after the initial positive buzz, and I think this is because Yahoo’s taking too long to go out with full bore, full online network promotion.
Yahoo Mash offers some features I really like compared to Myspace and Facebook. It’s an open architecture meaning that you can mashup mash with modules that show pictures or RSS feeds like this blog. I think my favorite thing about Yahoo Mash is the way the comments stream from profile to profile, so you don’t have to keep bouncing back to a single spot to remember what you said to somebody. I’m not enough of a social networking person to know if this is a real innovation or not because Myspace and Facebook also have some features that cross pollinate across profiles, but somehow Mash feels more like a “social networking” experience to me, even though I with it had the kinds of business networking features you find at LinkedIn.
If Yahoo Mash is just working out kinks and getting ready to scale up to full release soon that is fine, but if the idea is to scale the project *slowly* over a year or so I think they are making a big mistake. Why? Because social networking is an explosive phenomenon both in the sense that it has quickly become a key online activity across all users but also because it seems to me that social networks don’t gain momentum gradually, rather they become “in fashion” as did Myspace and Facebook and grow quickly and explosively. Facebook is still in this growth mode while I think Myspace growth is tapering off (I’m too lazy to go look at graphs to see if this is true).
Disclaimer – I’ve got some Yahoo stock. Not enough to prejudice my views, but perhaps enough to make me unreasonably optimistic.