So I signed up for yet another social network, Kaneva, and *yay* my avatar plays in it. And what's cool is that I'm not the only Oddcast avatar in there... check out this cool use of SitePal for this movie review page. One interesting thing going on in there though is that all the users are obsessed with friending, commenting and "raving" (giving a thumbs up) each other. Why? Because Kaneva has built a 3D virtual world that is in closed beta and only available to its most active users. Everyone seems to want in. It's fascinating to watch and I'd bet that they couldn't get that kind of usage if they paid people in cash. The only issue is, how long can you keep the donkey from getting the carrot? Do people give up after a while? I sort of feel like you need a disincentive here to balance it out... like some kind of measure of authenticity. So, for example, I shouldn't count as a very good connection. I'm new, I have no other connections. I have no previous contact with these people. People like me should count against them and real relationships, or at least real-looking relationships, should count more.
If anyone at Kaneva is listening, I'd love to see the beta of the virtual world and discuss how to make the site more authentic. It's a good site... pretty responsive... nice creation tools that are helpful, but still flexible... but I think this carrot might be fleeting in the long run.