The Godfather and Social Media
In many ways, the top level websites of social media can be compared to the fictional world of The Godfather. Sounds weird? Hear me out.
The Godfather showed us a world of beauty and corruption. Alliances were made and broken. Those who were good to the family were rewarded, while anyone who stepped in the way was hit.
Social media works in much the same way. It can be beautiful, offering the best of the web compiled into loosely organized areas where masses of people can flood a worthy website and enjoy its offerings. It can be corrupt, as spammers use the power of social media to drive traffic to unworthy websites.
Websites can form alliances with social media partners, whether it’s a collaboration between The Wall Street Journal and Digg, Wired and Reddit, or even something as simple as placing buttons on stories to drive traffic to and from the social media platforms.
If a website is good to the family, they are rewarded. Rawstory.com receives a huge portion of their traffic from social media. Then again, if you wrong the family and its members, your website can get banned.
To make it as a social media website,you somehow have to fit into the family. Here’s how the breakdown of the family looks today…
Reddit as Sonny Corleone:
For a while reddit has been considered the “hothead” of the social media family. Just like Santino “Sonny” Corleone, Reddit is simple to understand but almost impossible to comprehend. The top headlines on any particular day can include ranting, raving, cursing, and insults as exemplified by the judgemental, down-modding mentality.
Successful submissions on Reddit require a firm yet respectful voice, especially with the title. Just as Sonny would back hand any man for speaking out of turn, so too will reddit users doom a story to oblivion if it isn’t titled properly.
The best part about Reddit/Sonny is straightforward simplicity. Within 5 minutes of meeting Sonny or joining Reddit, anyone can get a feel for how they work. Submitting to reddit is easy: URL, Title, and a choice of 8 categories. Requires very little thought and even less effort.
Propeller as Fredo Corleone:
When Netscape first decided to be a Digg clone of sorts, they assumed that their name and age would be enough to help them ascend to full Godfather status. Frido was Michael’s older brother but still had to answer to his power, just as Propeller (Netscape) is trying to catch up in stature to the three-year-old Digg.
In many ways Propeller has features that are superior to the other major social media websites. They are good to their people, catering and supportive. If you have a story make it to the front page there are different things that give Propeller the “human touch” factor that its competitors do not have. They’ll manually select and attach relevant pictures to your story. They’re anchors feature five hand-picked submissions at a time in their recommended section at the top of the homepage, and they make it super simple to vote for your friends’ stories.
Still, Propeller is not the Godfather. The website works exceptionally well for a large chunk of the social media crowd, but it would be difficult to see them make it to full Godfather status.
Digg as Michael Corleone:
With more direct traffic than the other social media websites combined, Digg is the current Godfather. Choices made by Digg and by the masses of its members can make or break a story or a website. When Michael spoke, people got buried. When Digg speaks, servers can be shut down.
The media focus is always on Digg, just as with Michael. Its popularity has been a tremendous driving force in the growth of social media as a whole. If you ask Kevin Rose what he thought, would he say something like, “Every time I think I’m out they pull me back in.”?
Newsvine as Tom Hagen:
One look at Robert Duvall’s character in The Godfather and you knew he wasn’t quite a Corleone. One look at Newsvine, and you can tell that something is different. A social news website that caters to the handful of people who don’t have SM-ADHD, Newsvine is more appealing to those who have the time and want to spend it.
Still, it doesn’t quite fit in. It’s pretty, for one thing, with lots of pictures and a design completely different from the rank-and-file style of the other SM sites. Like Tom Hagen, Newsvine is the quiet voice of reason. Like Tom Hagen, Newsvine doesn’t want to be in control, shoved into the spotlight that comes with being a Corleone. Newsvine is the “Consigliare” of Social Media.
StumbleUpon as ________:
This was a tough one. Is Stumble the Vito Corleone of social media? You tell me.
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