Friday s Featured Friend: Community Spirit 101


Before launching into a review of some cool widgets, I want to talk about community. First of all, the theory of some social networks who belive: “If you build it, they will come” is whack. In order to be successful, with anything web-based, especially a social network, it’s all about user engagement and feedback.

You may notice that IntelliGrad has added Buddy Mapping under the ’Network Tab’ on our homepage. Clicking on any orange dot on the map will show you the location of someone who is our friend“ you can see their name and sometimes (if they were nice) a photo or email address.

You may also notice to the right of this blog entry a new feature called ’Recent Readers’ with pictures of people who are readers of our blog yes Ben they do exist! I’d by psyched for you to join the list“ just click and add yourself. The service is run by

And, if that wasn’t enough, you can also be our friend on Myspace. You can even chat with us on MySpace by using Meebo, an instant messaging widget that allows anyone with a website or a blog to communicate (in real-time) with the people using their site.

Oh wait! Who can forget our Express Yourself Page, where we encourage users to send us videos and articles and coming soon you can leave us your two minute audio take on any topic, or offer up two minutes of advice for other grads.

Why in the heck are we doing all this? The reason is simple: we are building a community. Fred Wilson who has a great blog recently wrote about the importance of community though he calls it the ’human factor.’

What separates IntelliGrad from really any other web presence (website/portal/aggregator/whatever) relating to college and high school graduates is that we are building a community first and a brand second.

In many cases, companies like eGrad, Affinity Circle, and they attempt create brands without communities“ and that’s not how it works.

For example, Affinity Circles. Like IntelliGrad, they biuld social networks for schools – although their social network is JV (but that’s another topic). The point is that Affinity Circles is a company that creates social networks for colleges and universities and yet they are not a community themselves. They don’t have a brand that college students support, like, trust, & engage with. It’s like French teacher who has never actually been to France.

Sure, we may only have 200 people visit our site a day right now, but those people love us“ they write us, they leave us comments and we talk to them“ we get feedback“ we accept criticism, we accept praise and that’s how communities develop.

So, I invite you; I implore“ JOIN OUR COMMUNITY! We exist for you.

PS: I did mention some cool widgets above. All of these can be viewed by clicking their respective links. You can add them to a Myspace page or blog by simply embedding the code. Enjoy. Oh and that “strange” photo above…it’s the number one return for a Google Images serach for community.


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