I wrote a post a few months ago stating, in short, that a dedicated social network may be worthwhile if your candidate, cause, company, profession, sector etc. is fairly unique and has a very dedicated band of followers looking to engage and/or be mobilised: “If you’re interested in something that can really get lots of people fired up (politics, saving wildlife, football) or, say, represent a very active political group or faction, then your own social network could work, if executed and promoted well.” I cited Barack Obama supporters and US firefighters as good examples of groups that wanted and made use of their own networks.
This all still rings true, but a few posts on Beth’s Blog have given me food for thought (see here and here.) To the list of people who would most likely make use of a good social network of their own, I’d add people who are dealing with a personal or family issue of a sensitive nature, say a medical condition or tragedy of sorts. They are likely to be very eager to communicate and engage with others who are facing similar experiences, as I can imagine that it must provide people with some semblance of comfort to interact with others out there who know exactly what they are going through. And to do so on a dedicated platform is more appropriate than, say, a Facebook Group, as it allows users to have the sense of privacy they’d likely demand when dealing with issues of a sensitive nature.
Under no circumstances am I suggesting that marketers should try tap into this market, although pharmaceutical companies could perhaps have a say – as long as they don’t blatantly plug their products. It’s probably an area best left to government agencies and especially non-profits (again, I’d refer to Beth’s blog as a good source for further material on this.)