The Social Network Chicken And Egg Problem

I got this interesting question in my inbox recently:
Hey Seun,
You don't know me. I'm just a fan of yours. I'd like to know how you solved the "chicken and egg" problem and succeed with nairaland. Networks like nairaland, fb, twitter are only valuable when there's a community on it. Therefore nobody wants to join, unless there are already a bunch of users. So how did you gain traction?
 So, you want to start a poultry farm.  You need eggs to make chickens, but you need chickens to lay eggs, so what do you do?  How do you solve this problem?  Simple:
  1. Buy lots of chickens. The chickens will lay eggs, which will develop into new chickens.
  2. Buy lot of fertilized eggs and incubate them. They will develop into egg-laying chickens.
To get a social network going, you just have to bribe or beg people to join your social network until it's big enough to sustain itself. If you're evil, forcing or tricking them to join also works:
  • In 'The Social Network' Mark Zuckerberg bootstrapped a social network by hacking into student records and creating accounts for students without their consent, effectively forcing them to join.
  • Some dating sites solve the chicken and egg problem by paying a bunch of beautiful female models to join the site and participate.The models attract a lot men to join the site (a form of trickery really), and this attracts more women.
  • With Twitter and Quora, employees of the company were the first to start using the sites heavily, then their friends and family, then attention seekers, geeks and celebrities, and finally regular people.  In effect, Twitter and Quora employees were initially paid not just to develop the respective sites but to use them and post on them regularly.
Until your social network takes off, you'll just have to bribe or beg people to join and participate. I did that.

33 comments :: The Social Network Chicken And Egg Problem

  1. Great post Seun. I wish my brothers in Cameroon could get the true implication of this information.

  2. So, what do you think G+ is using?

  3. Insightful!

  4. Thats a nice concept

  5. start me thinking

  6. peace be with you brother! i see your good works every where and i need your help in creating a forum similar to the one you've got.
    Web App Developers

  7. my broda knows u very well from oau.He didnt know how big you are until i introduced him to nairaland.Just like you begged every1,i'm begging your fans to follow me and bookmark my blog www.funnyfindings.blogspot. com

  8. Yes, it's not easy to build popularity for a website especially now that there is competition in almost every niche. But we at SmartBizLead are doing it and have gradually built Nigeria's first trade site Please join the site and post your buy and sell request to attract fast customers.

    You just have to be consistent at every tactic you are using.

  9. What an eye opener! This is so encouraging. Tnx Seun for not hoarding this information.

  10. Nice post. Am trying also to make my forum great too

  11. Awesome work


  12. An eye opener for all, keep up the good work Seun.. GGMUB and one day i'll also Get there

  13. Very lovely post, you can check my on Nigeria Business.

  14. Nice post brother. God will bless for this one, I also want to install a forum, but its unfortunate I have no coding ideas. Pls I need a developer to help me out. My email

  15. Nice blog post you've got here.. An insightful Traffic Generation method.

  16. Wow... Nice post... Jah bless u for this info... Great work bro..

  17. Seun is always like that,he gives 100% info.may GOD bless you for your gener ousity. dd- t

  18. Great post. I never knew the brain behind Nairaland not until I stumbled on this blog. Well done. You are a mentor to many. I follow and admire your wisdom.

  19. whao, great post....i salute u 4 being sincere, d simple lesson is dt we sud nt forget d place of humble beginning...i rmbr when jobberman started...they begged cafes in ife to use them as homepage on d browsers...nairaland fans, am begging u too..check out ds for latest info abt phone, pc, technology at large.. Tanxxx
    i salute all--great ife

  20. Check for latest news, love issues, health, education. Its a lively site where you get solution and share your view with friends and family.

  21. Good Evening Seun,

    Quite an insightful post you have here, its just about what I was looking for to create a next generation Social Giant in Africa and the world.

    However, I would like to talk to you more on this, please write to me on: if you get this.

    This is very important, because, your ideas now, are what would make or mar this dream.


  22. Great post...
    keep blazing.......

  23. Thank you Seun...You wouldn't understand how insightful this expose you've done is,and it has come just at the right time I need it! God bless you boss. I should add you to my honourable list of mentors.

  24. Hello Seun, I need 20 mins with you ( on a chat ). What do you think? *very important.

  25. You are indeed doing well and I am very proud of you.Please share with me the good attributes that brought you this far.

  26. Good job you are doing. I must say. I'm a entrepreneur. I think that what the white do to promote other entrepreneurs is to partner with them. Fund them and stuff more. Google was funded by the founder of Sun. Facebook also was funded by another entrepreneur called Saun Parka. That is why i believed as a legal business man, a Nigerian and an etrepreneur, i develop the free world for CAREERS , DREAMS , PROFESSIONS and INDUSTRIES. We make the long gap between CAREERS , DREAMS and INDUSTRIES shorter through one community and network. See free world to market, bud and sale yourself to the world and INDUSTRIES Sale your dreams. Over 10,000 page views daily. Join free and market your dreams to Entrepreneurs. see you there. Get traffic from page views to your homepage. Cream your own page. Create your group.

  27. surb pals -:::::::- pls i need all of your support not financially oooooh but by visiting this website
    / / and signing up there after signing up jst write 'samuely' @ the front page.......thanks in advance...... May God Bless you as you do so(AMEN)

  28. surb pals -:::::::- pls i need all of your support not financially oooooh but by visiting this website
    / / and signing up there after signing up jst write 'samuely' @ the front page.......thanks in advance...... May God Bless you as you do so(AMEN)

  29. Another new community. promises to give free credit up to N20000 naira daily. Pls help them solve their chicken and egg problem. Haha

  30. Hmmm, insightful and packed. Google plus literally 'make' bloggers have a google accout. Adsense, Blogger, Adword and the likes. They all use this strategy.

  31. Also know that a compelling offer is worth it anytime, anyday. Everyone wants quality. My site focuses on this.

  32. Nice post, i need this post, I just launched a social site for computer professional and tech whiz The Issue of bribe: what kind of "bribe" or action can be taken to encourage users to sign up.... thanks u

  33. Wow! This is obviously an app opener. Will perhaps be using same tactics for my intending website for Nigerian Students.

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