Boise's probably a great town, with most anything you could want. But I may never go. Like many interactive social networks (new and brand created) with no unique differentiation or compelling reason for me to engage, there's simply no reason for me to participate in what Boise has to offer. And I've got nothing against Boise. In fact, if you are from Boise, I love that town, and you.
Nick Wilson, in his 8/13/07 Metaverse article, comments on the trends and the hype around social networks and 3D environments. Three key takeaways worth mentioning:
The question any company should be asking regarding social networking is: first, why? then, how will the program I envision create real/perceived value for my audience? If you can't look at your planned efforts through the [jaded] eyes of the consumer and see real/perceived personal benefit, you are DOA.
For wont of a little observation, understanding and immersion within the culture of virtual worlds we see all kinds of mischief befall the unwary.
--> immerse to understand
Be First. It doesn't appear to matter what at, [or why,] but dammit, you just gotta be first! "Clueless Twonk Inc Are First Walrus Tickling Company to Enter Second Life"
--> Experiment with objectives
"Selling Picks and Shovels"
In any gold rush, the ones that are really guaranteed to profit are not the gold miners, panning through grit to find nuggets, but the ones selling the picks and shovels. What we havn't seen yet, but must surely come, is the 3D equivalent of the CMS.
--> consider how you can empower your end user with branded tools/apps/functionalities beyond any single destination property