This social networking thing has gotten seriously out of control

In today’s seriously dumb department, a social network for the “hair transplant community.”

Okay, aside from the bald jokes, which I avoid out of superstition (there but for the grace of God go I), why do people keep coming up with this stuff? And how do they come up with names like “hair transplant community” or “hair loss lifestyle”?

So what, exactly, is a hair transplant community. Well, this is what some copywriter over at Hair Transplant Community came up with:

Welcome to the first and only social network dedicated entirely to hair transplantation. This community is a safe and empowering place for hair transplant veterans, physicians and those considering hair restoration surgery. Share your hair transplant journey through video, blogs, and photos!

Hair transplant journey?

Forget for a moment all the systemic reasons not to start up a social networking site as a business, such as piddly revenue streams per user, flight of venture capital, and, most importantly, the massive consolidation into three or four major players. A social network works only if it has real world correlates, if a similar community organically does or can form in the real world around that issue. And have real-world interactive formats that they follow.

Knitters form real-world groups and communities. Quilters. Battlestar Galactica fans. Cancer survivors. These are all people who form groups and communities in the real world without any push from starry-eyed entrepreneurs with a server and time on their hands. Put up a social network in these areas, approximate the social interactive formats that the real-world groups follow, and, well, you have a formula for success (though a competitor might beat you to it).

But, seriously, folks, how many hair transplant guy clubs do you know? Do you go to a local coffeehouse and, voila, there’s a group of men from bald to bushy holding their weekly hair transplant meeting? Sharing their hair transplant journeys?

Just because you can identify a demographic doesn’t make that demographic a “community” or a “social network.”

As always, we wish the best of luck to entrepreneurs everywhere, including our hair transplant social networking gurus. And we don’t in any way discount the value that current members of the social network (about 70, over half are M.D.s) are getting from the network. But, since this is a serious blog, building a social network involves starting with the real world. If a social network doesn’t exist in the real world, folks, you’re probably not going to create much of one by building a social networking site.

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