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The opportunity to overthrow the social networking powerhouse is now greater than ever. Just think, you (yes, you) could be the next Tom from MySpace or Mark Zuckerberg. Pretty cool, right? Definitely, but you’re not going to be the next face of social media without heeding to the advice of successful business moguls of years past.
American automotive guru Henry Ford once said, “Failure is only the opportunity to begin again more intelligently.” While these words of wisdom can still be applied over 60 years after his death, they have little to do with social networking. Let’s face it, Mr. Ford knew nothing about the internet.
That being the case, when creating a social networking site with intentions of dominating the web, it would be more appropriate to follow the philosophy of Steve Jobs — “Lesser artists borrow; great artists steal.” Right on, Steve!
With that in mind, you’re ready to begin your path to social media domination, following in the footsteps of the great minds before you. I would wish you luck, but you won’t be needing it. Follow the 9 steps listed below, and success is inevitable.
Step 1: Craft a Concept
The first step to creating the hottest new social networking site on the block is crafting the concept. Before this step can be achieved, however, you’ll need to prepare. How? Drop out of school (college, high school, middle school… it doesn’t matter), it will only hold you back. Briefly take note of the features that Facebook embodies or take the concept behind up-and-coming projects like Diaspora and run with it. With that out of the way, step 1 is complete. What? We’re not actually innovating here, remember? Onto step 2…
Step 2: Establish a Name
Two roads can be taken here. Your first option is stringing together two (seemingly) nonsensical words, a la Facebook. Make sure to leave out anything that might clearly explain what, exactly, your site is all about. Really, you’ll only be limited by your own creativity here. If you’re running low on ideas, pick out a couple of items from around your room and combine them into one word (e.g. CoffeeFolder). If that’s not for you, just make up a word that is complete nonsense, but sounds important (Twitter, Imgur, Bitly). Got it? Good.
Step 3: Obtain Venture Capital
Alright, let’s talk finances. Building a social networking site of epic magnitude will come at a cost, and the reality of being a broke dropout will likely set in at this point. Don’t worry, that’s why venture capital firms exist — to give you money! Google some venture capital firms and set up meetings with the ones you think will be a fit.
Now you’ll need to prepare a business model to pitch. This is the easy part. Why is that? Investors are typically, well, old… and likely have no experience with the internet. Write down some statistics, print out infographics, and get your vocabulary down. You’ll want to make use of terms like “web 2.0” and “social media” early and often. This will reassure them that you know what you’re talking about. Once your pitch is done, shake hands with your investors and cash your million dollar check.
Step 4: Hire Some Employees
With your newly acquired funding, the first thing you’ll want to do is hire employees. You’re the head honcho now, you can’t be wasting time actually working. So who will you hire? Well, that’s the best part — your friends.That hot girl from Algebra? Marketing coordinator. The guy that plays World of Warcraft on his Alienware laptop between classes? Programmer. You get the idea. Be the cool boss and pay them well. Remember, they’re the core of your operations. Keep them happy with loose deadlines and paid time off in the event of a gnarly hangover.
Step 5: Program Your Site
It’s time to put your programmer to use. Unfortunately, while he appears to be a massive geek on the outside, he may know nothing about programming. Fear not, for every problem you encounter, there’s a simple solution. The whole basis of your social network is taking the ideas of others and putting your own spin on it. Remember, great artists steal. It’s time to put that into action. Rip the code of your favorite social networking website, slap your brand name on it, and you’re done. If you’re feeling especially lazy, just use a Facebook clone template.
Step 6: Launch Your Site
After cloning your favorite social network, or coding your own if you’re particularly ambitious, it’s time to launch your site. Get a shared hosting account with a reputable company like GoDaddy, register your domain name, and start uploading files. The whole process should take no more than an hour or two.
The best part of running with a company like GoDaddy is the fact that they provide unlimited hosting at cheap rates. That’s right,unlimited, they don’t care how much bandwidth you use. Rest assured, your site will be able to handle the millions of page views it will inevitably have on a daily basis and run as fast as lightning. You may ask how a company providing such a service is able to remain profitable? The answer: nobody knows.
Step 7: Sit Back and Profit
With your network launched and millions of new users flocking to it by the day, it’s time to profit. How? Load it up with advertisements, duh. Much like privacy controls, users do not mind excessive advertisements. How do you think Zuckerberg pulled billions in revenue?
Unlike Zuckerberg, however, you’re going to pull out all of the stops: pop ups, banners, contextual ads, etc. This will ensure that your site earns at its full potential. Also, it will work to enhance your site by giving your users access to awesome IQ quizzes and free trial weight loss products. With your ads intact, feel free to sit back and watch both visitor satisfaction and profit margins increase.
Step 8: Sell Your Site
After milking the pockets of visitors and advertisers worldwide, you will soon be faced with the harsh reality of declining profits. At this point, it’s important not to panic; this is actually the moment you’ve been waiting for. Really? Yes, really. It’s time to sell your site off to a company that has the power to bring new life to it.
You’ll be faced with a tough decision, but ultimately, it’s in your best interest to sell to a company that has proved to be successful in such endeavors. Popular choices include AOL and Fox Interactive Media. Settle for no offer below $500 million.
Step 9: Retire
With your nine digit check cashed and sitting in the bank, it’s time to retire. The last six months have been hard for you, and you need a lifelong break from the interweb. First, however, you’ll need to find a tropical paradise to retire in. Nantucket, the Bahamas, and Costa Rica are all popular choices.
Pick one, purchase beachfront property, and load your newly acquired home with the most expensive technology and gadgets known to man. Oh, don’t forget to buy a yacht and several luxury cars. Proceed to live out your life in pure bliss. The only difficult decision you’ll face now is: Beamer, Benz, or Bentley?