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We the people.

I do my very best not to make a running commercial out of my blog. But as they say, if you love what you do… 
Today, I read with glee of a new social network for geezers. I’m a “geeze,” so please don’t take offense.  Don’t mention AARP is the motto of this new community, called TeeBeeDee, which stands for To Be Determined.  This may be a smart business decision for its builders and investors and I wish them well, but I am so happy not to be in the community building business. 
Zude, you see, is a platform not a community. We don’t build Levittown’s and ask people to move in. We give them the hammers and materials and ask them to build their own residences. Because Zude allows users of any technical ability to build and customize their web presence, we have lots of 50 year olds and 15 year old users.  And they are all getting along just fine, thank you. There are no social barriers on Zude or neighborhoods gerrymandered by age, education, sex or ethnicity. It’s just a place where people “feel free” to express themselves. It’s like Queens, NY — the world’s greatest example of happy, healthy diversity. 
We built a platform…the people are building the rest. All the people. Thomas Friedman would be proud. We are flattening the world.      

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One of the cooler things I’m seeing on our social computing site Zude (www.zude.com) is interaction among a diverse group of users.  No gerrymandering here. 
A couple of analogues come to mind. One is Billy Bob’s Texas: a big old honky tonk in Fort Worth, where 20-somethings rub shoulders with 60-somethings — especially when there’s a good country band in town. The other analog is the NYC borough of Queens — the world’s most successful melting pot — where there is more tolerance of different cultures and religions than anywhere on earth. It doesn’t make the papers, mind you, but it’s there.
On Zude, kids learn about 70s Punk Rock from people who were there. Northerners experience Zydeco line dancing for the first time. People continents apart share their “art.” People seem to engage one another on Zude, whereas they might never do so out in the world.  More important, we haven’t been labeled “for students” or “business people” or “friends.” Hopefully we won’t. Our sweet spot is user freedom and so far it’s attracting all kinds.  That’s new…and that’s news!

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