Should Apple Have a Social Network Site?

by Bakari Chavanu Aug 08, 2008

I can't base my assumptions on facts, but I wager that a good third or more of Mac users are also participants on social networking sites like MySpace, Facebook, and Flickr. Apple users have no shortage of forums, Mac User Groups, and several web magazines like Apple Matters to access and use to stay current about all things Apple.  

However, as I started reading Don Tapscott and Anthony D. Williams's expanded edition of their book Wikinomics: How Mass Collaboration Changes Everything, I began to ponder if Apple should also be in the business building a social networking site for its users. Like other computer and software companies, Apple has its secretive infrastructure with code names and grand product announcements once or twice a year, especially in January at Macworld. We also know that there's an open source community in which Apple invites developers and programmers to view its "source code, learn from it and submit suggestions and modifications." 

And like other online companies, Apple welcomes consumer feedback on its products and services. So there is indeed a social networking aspect of Apple that Mac users can tap into. But I'm wondering if Apple could do more? Lots more? The popularity of sites like Flickr and Facebook is the ability to network and share creative expression. The expansion of say the Linux system is predicated on mass collaboration and networking. These communities are both cyber-based and physical networks that bring together users for all types expertise and purposes.

Should Apple develop a similar structure and vision? What could a large social networking site mean for Apple and it's users? It could have all the social trappings of say of Facebook, but could it be much, much more? Could it provide a more cohesive support for all types of Mac users; from educators, creative types, programmers, to simple fanboys and girls? Could a massive social network help bring more vision to Apple whereby the company is not just a producer of the next "cool" product, but also impacts other spheres of social networking outside the market place, especially in the area of say public education where a paradigm shift concerning how teachers and students engage one another seriously needs occur?

We know that Apple has impacted culture and entertainment and various forms of communication throughout the world, but it could to more.

Tapscott and Williams argue in there book that "mass collaboration is not only the most significant driver of success in today's marketplace, it's helping to transform the way we conduct science, create culture, inform and educate ourselves, and govern our communities and nations." They provide one example of how Apple has impacted the music industry by collaborating with other companies to produce the iTunes and the iPod. But this collaboration could be more widespread.


A social networking site might not be on Apple's agenda (unless maybe it can package it as new piece of hardware), but Apple user, Brian Floe of Aarhus, Denmark, started such a site back in April of this year. It seems to hasn't gotten much press coverage, but when I received an invitation to join by way of my Facebook membership, I immediately signed up because it seems to address many of the questions I raised in this article, which was being drafted before I received the invitation.

In the last week or so, membership of the site has reached over 500 members (mostly through word of mouth) and it includes features that you might expect like friendship networks, member blogs, photos, groups, and events. Like many other Mac related sites, it features artifacts, photos, and articles about all things Apple. 

Will grow to become a powerful social networking site for Mac users? Only time will tell. Having spent a little time checking out the site, I can say that it's worth a look and a free sign up. 


  • Some very interesting thoughts on taking social networking to the next level. I hadn’t really considered it before (and I’d need more than a couple of minutes) and always enjoy expanding my mind.

    On the “lite” side of social networking, Apple could very easily convert our existing programs into a social network. I mean - our photos get shared easily enough onto a personal page along with our our iTunes playlists (with links to buy the songs from the iTunes Store), we have a wide list of other users via Address book that could be linked as friends, & iChat buddies (which also gives a chat aspect). We can create some music or home movies to share. Our iphones are location aware and our laptops can use the wireless access points also used by iphones. I suppose we could also make some of our calendars public if we wanted, list our website favourites (straight from safari), mark movie trailers we are looking forward to, etc.

    Greg Alexander had this to say on Aug 08, 2008 Posts: 228
  • There are Apple groups already on Facebook.

    TonstantWeader had this to say on Aug 09, 2008 Posts: 3
  • There are facebook groups already on MySpace

    Brian Floe had this to say on Aug 12, 2010 Posts: 1
  • There are MySpace groups already on AOL. Way to state the obvious there, TonstantWeader, you fucking genuis.

    darkcrimson had this to say on Aug 12, 2010 Posts: 2
  • *genius

    darkcrimson had this to say on Aug 12, 2010 Posts: 2
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