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U-M Alumni "Friendster" Free for 30 Days

21. March 2005 • Rob Goodspeed
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The U-M alumni association is offering free 30-day trial accounts for alumni who are not members of the association to try out their online social networking tool inCircle. They’re also giving away iPods and T-shirts to some people who log in before June 30 to encourage use.

On my personal blog I argue they should allow every alumni to use the service, offering paying members additional features. inCircle user? View my profile.

  1. Rob,

    I exchanged email with the U Alumni Assoc’s inCircle liaison about this issue when they first launched it. She didn’t seem to get that the thing would be more valuable to EVERYBODY if any alum could set up an account for free. She couldn’t understand that people aren’t going to be compelled to join the assoc to get access to a closed network, especially if they know most of their friends think the same way. Why not put together an ad hoc friendster/orkut/whatever network for the folks you’re most interested in keeping in contact with? I might sign up for a chance at an iPod, though. =)
       —Scott    Mar. 21 '05 - 03:11PM    #
  2. Nevermind. You have to be a heavy user to win an iPod. Who’s got time for that?
       —Scott    Mar. 21 '05 - 03:12PM    #
  3. Yawn. Who needs another Friendster knockoff, and like we all really want to meet more damned UM alums?
       —Brandon    Mar. 21 '05 - 04:19PM    #
  4. I imagine the point for most people with things like this is not to meet more alums, but to be able to track down the ones they’ve lost touch with.

    But I agree; there are already too many of the social networking sites as it is.
       —kelli    Mar. 21 '05 - 04:58PM    #
  5. How is inCircle supposed to be different from / better than Facebook?
       —Murph    Mar. 21 '05 - 05:23PM    #
  6. I tried to post this on Rob’s blog, but for some reason it disappeared. There’s a truism called Metcalfe’s Law that says the value of a network is the square of its size. That means that the Alumni Assoc. would benefit exponentially from offering free, limited accounts.

    I doubt the social software theorists are making the decisions in this case, so don’t hold your breath waiting for them to make the right decision.
       —George Hotelling    Mar. 21 '05 - 06:41PM    #