A Review of Disney’s Social Network for Parents

Over the summer, I had heard from Mashable that Disney was introducing social networking functionality on its existing site Family.com, but it took me until now to finally make my way over to join the network to see what it is about. Since everything that Disney touches is seemingly magical in the world of marketing, I decided beforehand that the social network itself would be this way too. Instead, I feel as if I’m still on the fence. At one moment I think that it could be the newest network for parents (moms especially) to blow up, and at yet another moment I think it will fizzle.

This being said, the following sums up my mixed feelings about this network that I wanted to share:

  1. The site itself is slow. Now that I have a Mac I can attest it isn’t my computer, but rather the loading of the advertisements on the site and the graphics required. My MacBook literally revs up everytime I visit the site. For a social network to be interactive and engaging, it must quickly load profiles and new pages. Instead, I found myself having to wait between every movement I made. This is a problem that could prohibit new members from coming back.
  2. Disney is my friend. Many social networks die because there is no internal interaction keelisabraziel_s-friends-disney-familycom_s-parenting-community.jpgping members involved. I have to say that Disney is encouraging and nurturing this interaction by creating contests for members with the highest involvement, as well as employing community managers to welcome new members. This is great, however one thing that the site is lacking is a way to easily find or invite personal friends to the network. Instead of allowing me to search my email contacts, the site only allows me to invite friends by typing in each email address individually. Since this adds an extra step, this means my only two friends right now are Disney – which is slightly depressing.
  3. The site gives back. The concept of the site is about providing parents the resources for their families, and it does just that. It has recipe sections, coupon sections, and other relevant content that is accessible by members. My only improvement to this would be to allow members to clip and save information from these articles. This would entice readers of Family.com to join the network, and provide an extra value to existing members, who can use the site to manage their homes.
  4. The site allows creativity/personalization. In typical Disney fashion, the site has particular features for personalization. One of these, is the family portrait, in which members choose and personalize characters to represent themselves and their families. In my opinion, personalization within social networks allows members to express themselves and feel ownership over their presence within the network. As you can see, I was able to choose branded Disney clothes for my portrait (a smart branding option for Disney), as well as create my own “Social Media Geek” badge.

    lisabraziel_s-profile-disney-familycom_s-parenting-community-1.jpg

To sum it up – I think my overall consensus is that the site still needs improvement before it can become a competitor to an existing social network like CafeMom. It needs to improve internal interaction, and it should position itself against other existing social networks by becoming a social network that is “the resource” to help parents manage parenting.

In order to do this effectively, Disney should employ a few mom bloggers to join the network and provide insight. In general, these moms are insanely-connected (which would help build the popularity of the site), and would help the site become more intuitive and useful for parents.

What are your thoughts?

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