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ZSocial and WorldSocial: Dying, or Being Born


This is a blog that has been posted in ZSocial – for ZSocial users. However, I think it is relevant more widely, so I reproduce it here for ZCom users…


First, I would like to apologize – but with an explanation. 

ZSocial is currently far from worthy. Let's face it, that is the truth. There are too many needless bugs – like codes appearing in blogs, etc. And the response when you click for results is way too slow. And, of course, for being social ZSocial falls way short because there are too few people to be social with. 

Catch-22s are rampant. 
 
I am having trouble, honestly, as but one example, motivating the programmers to do better. They fear defeat. They can't understand why more people aren't more energetic, and in the absense of that, they ask my why they should be – especially when they have to do it, for now, for essentially no pay. They have a point. But of course, if they don't get more energetic, others won't…and then they won't, and so on.
 
Similarly, hosts are interested, but their motivation to put their names on a sub site and urge their constituencies to relate – such as we at Z have done – is hurt by the state of the system, and by the fact that any one I talk with confronts doing it, seemingly without the many others whose presence would make it worthwhile – and by the pressures of their own agendas, perhaps most of all. 
 
Then there are people like you. Users take a look, are impressed with the design and conception, but in time turn off because it falls short of Facebook – a hundred billion dollar corporate monstrosity – it doesn't have enough participation – it is slow, and so on. But, of course, to solve those issues requires that people do participate and do provide revenues, etc.  
 
And in this context, I prattle on. 
 
I say, hey – why can't you all see? If we together endure the growing pains, if we pitch in our involvement – which really doesn't take too much – just paying the $3 a month and posting and making contacts and so on – in time we can reach a tipping point, and then we can grow greatly, with tremendous material, social, and political benefits accruing to all hosts and users – which means to constituencies and organizations all over the world. 
 
A person who works at UTNE Reader, the first media organization to become a host, asked me very sincerely, how to help given their reticence to write emails to all their readers. Here is what I wrote to him:
 

 

I don't know quite what to say ….

 

 
Honestly, if hosts don't want to write to their constituencies, to run articles or interviews in their pages, to voice support very loudly and assertively, what likelihood is there that many of their folks will sign up? Not too much, I think.
 
My estimate has been, all along, that there are two reasons a person might join at the outset.
 
1. The obvious reason – they get great benefits from doing so. This however involves a catch22 – there are only great benefits if there are lots of people on board. So this doesn't ramp up any initial audience…going from zero to lots must depend on something else driving people to join, pay, and participate.
 
2. People see the long term benefits that can accrue – and decide to invest, so to speak, in making it happen, even though in the short run the benefits for them aren't large. This insight and commitment is what we have to rely on, I think, to get the numbers of user on each host system, and the sum of all hosts' numbers, up…
 
In the best of all worlds, everyone would see the potential of WorldSocial instantly on hearing the idea. I think it is, indeed, that obvious. BUT – we don't live in that world. In our world, the first inclination of people, especially on the left, is to assume failure and not even consider the possibility of success. 
 
What can overcome that inclination? Only, I suspect, substantive nagging – that is, people who audiences trust conveying the conviction that this is worth investing in – given the long term payoff for everyone. I can only do so much of that – everyone knows I think it is worthy and has potential. Without others chiming in too – it becomes just the nattering of a lone voice…
 
 
WorldSocial has enormous potential to solve funding problems of media and activist organizations, and to generate mutual aid and understanding among them, and to provide steadily maturing and improving activist informed and motivated social networking to users. But there is a leap of faith needed. A relatively small initial core must provide revenues to finance the developments, and add in content and their enegy, some, at any rate, to motivate others to do likewise. Whether this will be forthcoming, at this point, is largely up to those reading this blog post, I suspect.
 
Is the WorldSocial glass nine tenths empty, or one tenth full? Even more, is it leaking irretrievably, or are there enough folks who can see the benefits of an overflowing glass to add themselves to the mix, including contributing at least a little vigor and outward facing support? We'll see. 

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