As I like to do when a post involves some ‘creative thinking’ I am warning you on this one. TechCrunch is ‘reporting’ the Wall Street Journal’s possible attempt at creating a social community (WSJ Connnect) that could compete with the LinkedIn set. I realize that outside of the Microsoft-Yahoo nuptials there has been little to discuss in the online marketing space as of late. With that in mind, since the TechCrunch piece includes the following it seems that it has to be taken with a grain of salt.
WSJ Connect is still in the planning/conceptual stages, says one source, but there is “strong interest” to move the project forward. Importantly, it would leverage the WSJ brand but would be a separate property and unencumbered by the need for a paid subscription to the newspaper.
In the planning stages with a strong interest could be applied to the idea of just about anything in any company. That being said, the supposed “LinkedIn Killer” would be a replacement for the WSJ Community which is part of the current WSJ site. I am a fairly regular reader of the Wall Street Journal and I am a site subscriber. Those two pieces of data make the fact that I didn’t even know that the current WSJ Community even existed pretty poignant. Now that I have gone to the site to look for it specifically, I see the link but I must have developed “community blindness” or something like it.
News Corp., as a whole, is not known for their ability to capitalize on the social media space. They own MySpace and we all know how that has flourished under its guidance. They do own a company called Slingshot Labs which will be tasked with building this WSJ Connect product if it indeed does see the light of day so they will not develop this in house as they did with the WSJ Community effort.
So rather than wonder what might happen based on ex-MySpace employees seeking some mention on TechCrunch, let’s ask a few questions of you, the MP reader. Would there be any interest in this type of community for you personally? If this idea actually came to fruition and was launched, who would you see as the demographic? What can a social networking community do to set it itself apart and possibly lure away some of the 15 million visitors that LinkedIn gets monthly? Is there room for more “straight business” social communities?
These are the kinds of questions that News Corp. and the WSJ need to ask themselves before they fully commit. It will be somewhat interesting to see if there is truly an attempt made to get this type of offering off the ground. I have been told that regardless how crowded a market or an industry is there is always room for one more GOOD player. What it truly takes to be good in the social media space, however, may be a barrier to entry that few can overcome at this point in time.