Thursday, June 14, 2007 It's Not Who You Know But What You Know

New Social Website Tempts the Inquisitive
Questions and answers connect's users

By Carolyn Y. Johnson Boston Globe June 11, 2007

The online social-networking world is crammed with websites where college friends, nurses, moms, and even cat lovers can mix and mingle. Tomorrow , a Cambridge company called joins the fray, offering an online hangout for the inquisitive -- a social network where it's not who you know, but what you know. [] is a stream-of-consciousness polling site, with people posing and answering thousands of simple yes-and-no questions. The website can find compatible, like-minded people who share views on politics, food coloring, or the senior prom.

"You pretty much know what's in the minds of your friends," said Martin Clifford , the founder of "But say I've answered 1,000 questions -- who else has? You get a sense of who is compatible with you and start to form a community."

Clifford cofounded, a dating website acquired by for $150 million in 2003, and said that since then he has been looking for a way to tap into social networks., which received $5 million in venture capital funding last year, has a trust-the-crowd mentality, and will allow people, major advertisers, and mainstream media organizations to tap into the wisdom of the crowd.

But a quick perusal of the website, which has been in beta stage for about a month, shows there are many gradations of "wisdom."

"Do you think food coloring can cause attention deficit disorder?" (No). "Don't you think Wikipedia is amazing?" (Yes). "Do you like pickles?" (Yes)

In a world where a new social network seems to come online every day, the idea of responding to yes-and-no questions which range from insipid to thought-provoking may not seem compelling.


But Clifford stresses the value of the website is that it approaches social networking from a completely new direction. Instead of using the network to manage relationships, depending on friends and contacts to discover more content, uses content to bring people together. [snip]

The website then lets people find which users had the same answers to questions.It also allows people to click on a user's profile to see a photo and a hometown, comments the person has left, and questions he or she has asked and answered. People can send messages and become "friends" with each other, but are most connected by the web of questions and answers.


"I totally believe in the wisdom of the crowd," Clifford said. "If you ask the audience you get the right answer."



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