The answer to the choice lies in aspirations. A newbie firm wants to test the waters and looks at the path of least resistance. A social business, they might argue, has got to mostly do with people. So why not gravitate to where most people are? The trouble with this is that the answer is correct but the question is wrong. The fabric of a social business is not the people per-se but what those people do within the sandbox. A social sandbox is like a society – and people get enamoured by reciprocating behavior as much as they put off by actions that seem incongruent to that sandbox-society. Example, notice how many times your eyes roll-over when you notice someone posted that “my cat’s just rolled over” type update on LinkedIn?
The sandbox you choose has got to answer a very important question. If you were given the choice of asking the entire population of your intended audience live inside a gated community what would that community look like? If that looks like Planet Facebook, please go ahead and play in that sandbox. But please ask yourself this question before you make the choice
PS: LinkedIn was a poor example perhaps – it had critical mass – and a different sandbox already as Facebook started its own growth. But you get the drift. Branchout is a better example and they made a choice of playing in Facebook’s sandbox