Here are 3 things worth keeping in mind for a successful social networking website design : 1. Pay attention 2. Be creative 3. Be exclusive This article focuses on purely the social aspects which work for the leaders in social networking right now. I’ll also point out some features of these sites which I think aren’t working as well as they were originally intended Facebook has a good reputation for very good reasons. Specifically, Facebook is dedicated to truly developing the real aspects of online social networking, and they do this by paying attention. They pay attention to what matters and is socially relevant. Their products are controlled and well thought out. They think about whether a feature is socially relevant (cross friend photo commenting notification - c.f.p.c.n for short) and invent ways to make networking more social (feeds). Digg.com is another great resource. One specific feature that they have which is absolutely genius, is when you comment on an article that someone posted, you have to wait 60 seconds before it’s accepted. This means you can’t navigate away or close the browser, so you’re left with only about 900 other comments on which to read and formulate more comments for. The fact about commenting - period - is that for a site like Digg, user participation is the key “product” really, which is in turn supplied (for free) by people like you and I who for whatever reason justify the expense of our time with the reasoning that it’s important to “have a voice.” In reality, SN sites capitalize on the fact that most people have nothing better to do with their time, are self centered and being involved in debating a current affair is an interesting alternative to the classic wasteful pastime of watching television. I admit that staying on top of things and getting involved in an intelligent conversation is a far better use of time than many other wasteful activities. Masses of people running around everywhere, switching focus every 0.001 seconds. Regardless, Digg has managed to provide a unique combination of elements with which this type of addictive behavior is made possible. If only they could leverage their audience for advertisers as Facebook has… It’s interesting to watch how Facebook is leveraging its traffic with its new application feature. It’s nice how the model isn’t monetized (it’s free for all), it’s just another way to attain a larger and more unique supply of targeted traffic which is really what they sell (to advertisers.) It’s nice to see that amidst all the record-setting buyout offers, criticism and volatile changes in SN culture, Facebook has been able to hold steady, remain innovative and become the leader without “selling-out” and at the same time not losing sight of the users even though they are only indirectly their customers.