Linkau have launched an Australian social network. I don’t know how clearly you can see from the picture above (from the Sydney portal) but it’s very MySpace-y. No attempt to pull out information into an aggregated page. No real attempt to add any value to the Australian MySpace proposition as far as I can see, except a limited attempt at swarming down into local portal (doors) into local area content.

The usual issue. If you build it will they come? Is your purpose clearly defined. And no, the purpose isn’t to “have as many banner ads as possible”. It’s a clear reason why people will join. This is on the main portal page:

Welcome to LinkAU.com: The first Australian Augmented Social Network on the Internet.

By joining LinkAU, you become part of the solution and ensure your views are represented in the development, convergence, and adoption of Australian values and standards. We are an online social networking platform designed to give the power of networking to the Australian community.

“People have used the social network metaphor for over a century to connote complex sets of relationships between members of social systems at all scales, from interpersonal to international.”

Dunno about you, but I would’ve said that generic networks with no value add are over. MySpace had it’s time, and we’ve moved on. Perhaps there is traction in local ads and classifieds – sort of craigslist for Sydney – and the ‘entry portal page’ concept, but the whole user experience needs an overhaul if that is the case. I’m of the opinion that copycat sites that are adapted for niches can work, but there has to be some adaptation. And it’s all in the About Us re: strategy:

“A social network is a social structure made of nodes (which are generally individuals or organizations) that are tied by one or more specific types of relations..”

About Us

LinkAU, is an online social and business networking platform designed to give the power of networking to the Australian community.LinkAU was formed to utilize the advantageous attributes, and the importance of a mutually beneficial relationship that significantly adds to the values of living in Australia.

Each portal contains its own community who engage in discussions, share interests, contacts, referrals and more…LinkAU membership secures your place in the national community that recognizes the importance of interoperability and intelligent information exchange that comes with the Augmented Social Network. By joining LinkAU, you become part of the solution and ensure your views are represented in the development, convergence, and adoption of Australian values and standards.

LinkAU members leverage their participation in the Augmented Social Network to expand markets, advance new ideas, protect their social interests,help buid your community while collaborating within a safe, neutral environment. A range of membership levels encourages participation from all sectors of the community, resulting in an inclusive, national, and balanced member base

Objectives:

  1. To create an Internet-wide system that enables more efficient and effective knowledge sharing between people across institutional, geographic, and social boundaries.
  2. To establish a form of persistent online identity that supports the public commons and the values of civil society.
  3. To enhance the ability of citizens to form relationships and self-organize around shared interests in communities of practice to better engage in the process of democratic governance.

The core elements of the LinkAU’s technical architecture are:

  1. a form of user-controlled digital identity that is context-sensitive, enables personal recommendations and is built on open standards;
  2. interoperability between the networking community:
  3. brokering services that can connect individuals who share interests in a context-sensitive manner; and
  4. public interest matching technologies that enable effective Internet-wide searches.

“enhance the power of social networks by using interactive digital media to exploit the transitive nature of trust through the principle of six degrees of connection.”

Go join up, let me know what you think. I’ll wait here. 🙂