This chapter is a free excerpt from Make Something People Love: Lessons From a Startup Guy.

So, what if your website isn’t social? No, you aren’t doomed. You just have to work a lot harder, because all those conversations, all that community building won’t be happening on your website. But there are still plenty of ways for it to happen.

One of the exciting challenges about launching hipmunk was that I got the chance to try to build a community around one of the most anti-social things you can do on the internet: travel search. We do it alone, and we never have fun when we do it. Instead of thinking about the cat photos we could be sharing at that moment we are stuck trying to find a flight without a ten hour layover in Sheboygan. So, here’s a website with no social aspect whatsoever, and yet there are myriad tools available (that I’m sure you all know about) that give you the opportunity to make a siteeven one as antisocial as a travel search site) as social as you want it to be.

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So, what if your website isn’t social? No, you aren’t doomed. You just have to work a lot harder, because all those conversations, all that community building won’t be happening on your website. But there are still plenty of ways for it to happen.

One of the exciting challenges about launching hipmunk was that I got the chance to try to build a community around one of the most anti-social things you can do on the internet: travel search. We do it alone, and we never have fun when we do it. Instead of thinking about the cat photos we could be sharing at that moment we are stuck trying to find a flight without a ten hour layover in Sheboygan. So, here’s a website with no social aspect whatsoever, and yet there are myriad tools available (that I’m sure you all know about) that give you the opportunity to make a siteeven one as antisocial as a travel search site) as social as you want it to be.

Social Tools: The Global Water Cooler

Facebook: The social network. Nearing 1 billion users at the time of this writing. If Zuckerberg has his way, this will take an even bigger role in the online lives of millions.

Google+: Social networking by Google. At present it’s still early adopters, but Google can’t afford to fail in this market, so I’m cautiously optimistic they’ll end up a legit competitor.

Hacker News: reddit for startup founders (or the startup curious). The earliest adopters all hang out here, discussing and debating case studies and tech announcements.

Instagram: Easily lets anyone take and share a pretty picture from their smartphone.

Pinterest: Share and organize all the beautiful things you find online. If you’ve got photos, you’ll probably want your users to share them here.

reddit: The best platform for online communities. Users submit and vote on links as well as comments to create an ever-changing front page of the web.

SocialCam: The easiest way to share mobile video. There’s more friction in video than pictures, but they’re aiming to be the ‘Instagram for video.’ (I’m a bit biased, because I’m also an investor and I’m always high-five-ing Michael Seibel, their CEO.)

Twitter: A broadcast platform in 140 characters or fewer. High volume, lots of noise, but a superb place to surprise and delight users who are kvetching into the void.

Tumblr: Super simple blogging platform with a vibrant community of creatives.

Vimeo: Fancypants video hosting with community and emphasis on quality.

YouTube: The place to host online video. The comments will make you doubt your faith in humanity, but there’s no doubt that it’s where we go online for video.

WATCH: How to make a splash in social media|TEDTalks|Nov. 2009

You’ve undoubtedly heard the cliché that word of mouth is the best advertising. That hasn’t changed—it’s only gotten more powerful, spreads faster, and further.

Ideas have always spread best “around the water cooler” so to speak, but now the water cooler has gotten really really big (the internet) and our users’ genuine endorsements (or admonishments) go a long way.
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