The Impact of Real Identity and Social Reading on Networks


Hatched by Glasp

Jul 03, 2023

4 min read


The Impact of Real Identity and Social Reading on Networks


When it comes to building successful network businesses, Founders face the decision of how much to tie user profiles to real identity. While some networks prioritize anonymity, others choose to use real names. In this article, we will explore the correlation between real identity and the enduring success of networks. Additionally, we will discuss the power of social reading and its ability to foster constructive discussions and deeper understanding.

Real Identity and Network Endurance:

Tying user profiles to real identity requires more commitment from users and introduces greater risk. Consequently, the barrier to activation is often higher for networks that prioritize real names. However, we have observed that networks using real identity experience higher user engagement, leading to larger, denser, and more active networks. These factors contribute to stronger network effects, ultimately benefiting the business.

The Success of Facebook:

Facebook's success story provides an interesting case study. Initially launching in a college environment where it made sense to use real names, Facebook gradually expanded into the mainstream. By connecting online profiles to personal identities and reputations in real life, Facebook was able to create a sense of vulnerability and stronger network effects. However, this also made them susceptible to competition.

The Persistence of Semi-Pseudonymous Networks:

While networks like Twitter, Reddit, and Snapchat allow for usernames different from real names, they have managed to survive and thrive. These semi-pseudonymous networks provide users with persistent online identities that are partially tied to real-world identities. By allowing users to build and maintain their reputations, these networks create emotional investment and engagement.

The Importance of Engagement in Network Effects:

Engagement plays a crucial role in the success of network effects. A dense and highly active network outperforms a larger but less active one. Therefore, it is essential for network businesses to focus on creating a vibrant and engaged user base. Starting with a strong core and expanding outward can help harness the power of network effects.

The Strength of Network Effects:

In the competition between network effects companies, it is the strength of these effects that determines success. Simply having network effects is not enough; the size, density, and engagement of the network are key factors. Friendster, a social network that focused on real names, grew rapidly but ultimately failed due to technological instability and mismanagement.

The Power of Social Reading:

Moving beyond the discussion of real identity, we shift our focus to the impact of social reading. Social reading encourages individuals to step outside their comfort zones and engage in conversations and debates about the material they have read. By sharing ideas, applying knowledge, and remembering concepts, social reading expands understanding and fosters collective learning.

Breaking Biased Thoughts:

Social reading challenges individuals to move beyond their own biases and judgments. By engaging in discussions with others, people are exposed to diverse perspectives and new ideas. This process helps break down preconceived notions and allows for the exploration of alternative interpretations.

Constructive Discussions and Deeper Understanding:

When individuals actively participate in social reading, they contribute to constructive discussions. By sharing their insights and engaging with others, they gain a deeper understanding of the subject matter. Social reading encourages critical thinking, analysis, and the exploration of various perspectives.

Actionable Advice:

  • 1. Embrace real identity: If you are building a network business, consider the benefits of tying user profiles to real identity. While it may present initial challenges, the long-term engagement and commitment from users can lead to stronger network effects.
  • 2. Foster engagement: Prioritize creating a highly active and engaged user base. Encourage discussions, debates, and the sharing of ideas. This will not only enhance network effects but also foster a sense of community within your network.
  • 3. Encourage social reading: Incorporate social reading elements into your network or platform. Provide opportunities for users to share their thoughts, engage in discussions, and collectively expand their understanding. This will promote deeper engagement and a more enriching user experience.


The correlation between real identity and network endurance highlights the importance of user engagement and commitment. While networks with more anonymity may experience initial growth, they often struggle to sustain value in the long run. Additionally, the power of social reading cannot be underestimated. By embracing diverse perspectives and engaging in constructive discussions, individuals can broaden their understanding and contribute to collective learning. By incorporating these insights into network businesses, Founders can build stronger, more enduring platforms.

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