Need A Student Loan? Try social networking.
It’s the latest and greatest in college/student loans: social networking. Sites like Prosper.com and Lending Club are offering students a low-interest way to get student loans through P2P (peer to peer) communities.
Does this take social networking to a new level? No, not really. These sites, at their base, are exactly what social networking was created for, The social networking platform is finally being used as it was meant to be: to connect people in need. It’s not just a way to communicate, get viral, and spread content (though it’s still a useful and valid way to spread memes and information) through networks like
Plurk, Twitter, Stumble, Digg, etc.
The concept, I admit, is interesting. But it seems that social networking has chosen its path, and while I admire these two companies for attempting to break “new ground”, I feel that the model will end up in failure. Savvy money-lenders and students may be able to take advantage of the model, but my overall consensus
it that it won’t be around too much longer.
Here’s how it works (in a nutshell):
Dave Taylor asked some great questions of Prosper’s Chief Technology Officer John Witchel
It’s worth the read, and it only furthers my hypothesis: this business model is doomed. We’ll all have to get used to the fact that social networks are for getting “social” (read mass dissemination of information and finding out what everyone’s doing, no matter how inane or mundane).
Plurk: The Next Big Thing
We all know that there are hundreds of social media, bookmarking, and networking sites out there. Plurk is just the latest one to come along, and is, in the infamous words of the Talking Heads, “Burning down the house”. It’s a hot property out in web-world and it’s only a few months old. It works a lot like Twitter, but without the meltdowns and inspires a sense of the unknown.
Here’s the Gist:
- Users (like Twitter) get 140 characters to compose a message with
- Users have 15 verbs to predicate their messages with. For example, “loves”, “hates”, “thinks”, “wishes”, “was”, etc. This, I believe, allows users to formulate better, more coherent “Plurks”.
-Users can build up a following and receive friends’ plurks. All plurks are set on a timeline and displayed chronologically. This is an interesting feature which I found, to be honest, strange at first, but have grown accustomed to. I find that the plurks of others are more organized and not nearly as congested as they can get on Twitter.
-Karma Points (Police?): this is latest rage in social networking sites: Karma. You’ve got Karma on Reddit, Mixx, and now Plurk. But, unlike the others, Karma earns you stuff, so there is actually an incentive to plurking and using Plurk. Additionally, which I think is spiffy, it seems as if the folks at Plurk, have a Karma algorithm to calculate and recalculate your Karma as you Plurk along. You get points for the following:
- Getting the folks you know to sign up and use Plurk. ATTENTION: SHAMELESS PLUG: if you feel like following me, or joining, use this Plurk Link: (that’ll be my only one, I promise)
- Plurking. The more you plurk, the more Karma points you can earn.
- Customizing your profile: Deck ou t your profile by adding an image, tweaking the colors of Plurk background, and adding in all the information you can in your profile. Completeness seems to be the key (kind of like LinkedIn)
My initial thought is this concept is a winner. The interface is easily accessible, clean, and well organized. And, I like that it doesn’t “have to” interface with hundred other social networking/media apps out there. Even though it’s in its infancy, the creators feel strong enough that it can stand on its own. This one definitely makes it into my Top 10 Social Media apps, not only because of its winning features, but also because it is fairly undiscovered territory at this point. This site should be up for SEOMoz’s Web 2.0 award next year.
I don’t have a real “I Wish This Site Had” list yet. Right now, I think it functions perfectly. I want this site to grow organically before it feels like it has to add features and massive interconnectivity to the rest of the social networking world.
Also, if you want the real skinny on this site and its application (all the ins and outs) check out this post by Thinking Serious (excellent post by the way)