A Real-World Twist on the Social Net

Another twist on social media has emerged from the trenches of the startup landscape: activity-based social networks. These startups aim to take the Facebook model one step closer toward activity omniscience by grafting real-world activity monitoring onto online social interactions. Zenergo, a three-week-old social network startup, has plans to bring real-world activity networking to mobile, allowing users to filter and prioritize interests and affinities for products and activities via a single, Facebook-integrated profile.

Zenergo’s mobile app is still in development. Currently, users can interact with locally based pre-existing groups around activities, such as wine tasting or tennis, while connecting with Facebook. Although this sounds a lot like Facebook groups, CEO Patrick Ferrell, who co-founded SocialNet.com with Reid Hoffman of LinkedIn and Paypal fame, believes Zenergo offers a much better way for consumers to integrate their daily activities and interests with their online identities.
“Most other social networks take a single-bucket approach, meaning all contacts are considered to be in the same social circle, with the same social status to the primary networker,” said Ferrell. “They only provide a single aspect of networking such as single group management or single event management.” Ferrell compares Facebook to Walmart, stating that Zenergo is more of a boutique social network for people seeking genuine offline connections. “People want to extend their lifestyle beyond a mouse click, they naturally create and gravitate toward social circles of others who share similar activities and interests, whether online or offline,” said Ferrel.
Ferrell’s assertion doesn’t answer the question of how another locally focused, social network could succeed, but Zenergo’s eventual appeal may be that its users voluntarily record commerce activities like shopping or dining out, information that could be appealing to advertisers seeking deeper insights into the lives of their Facebook fans or detractors.
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