Li Jin @ljin18 Consumer investing @a16z. Beijing born + Midwest bred. MBA dropout. Alum: Product @shopkick, stats & English lit @Harvard. Lifelong artist. Loves tech & corgis. Sep. 04, 2019 1 min read

Stumbled on this really thoughtful post from a few years ago by early FB employee (and founder of a competing fashion-based social network) @jjflex on why FB took off when other social networks floundered. 

In short: the strength of relationships matters.

When it comes to creating deep relationships between users, it's hard to beat existing offline relationships e.g. between friends, classmates, etc.

“By mapping the relationships we already had in a period of dynamic new relationship creation and extending them to people you were actually likely to meet in person [...] you crushed our idea to have you meet a stranger living in Dallas who liked the same cut of Diesel jeans."

That being said, all of this seems to be changing with present social networks where the glue that holds communities together is shared interests or demographics rather than IRL relationships. E.g. IG, Reddit, Twitter, Twitch -- most connections aren't from the offline world.

What’s changed? Deeper relationships can now be formed online through a variety of means--richer ways to communicate (besides AIM), more ways to express oneself / hang out digitally, and more relevant connections made via platforms that have more data about users, etc.

Strong relationships can now *start* online, rather than just reflecting what already exists offline.

You can follow @ljin18.


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