Archive for October, 2007

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Social Media meets Mobile

18 October, 2007

We all talk about how consumption of media is changing, but don’t often look exactly what this means for the consumer. Specifically, there are two key influences happening right now which are leading to about ten other things.

The two key influences are the rise of social networking and the extension of then mobile phone from communications into other areas.

By social networking, I include social media, being media which we can interact with in some form (by commenting, blogging, creating, sharing or mashing up with other things); social networking, being the ability to define groups of friends and communicate in a more public manner with them, either by actively communicating or by referential communication, activities we (publicly) undertake; and the wider concept pf social graph, defined as “the network of connections that exist through which people communicate and share information.” (Dave Morin, Facebook) which underpins social sharing sites like Flickr, youTube, Twitter, FriendFeed etc.

The change in the mobile phone reflects that which happened with the internet. Email was a killer app for the internet – suddenly we could communicate with people easily. Yes, there was content, but it was difficult to find outside of our walled gardens (like CompuServe and AOL), search wasn’t very sophisticated and it seemed huge (in reality, a fraction of the size it is now). Mobile phones are starting to be not the primary device for content and media, but definitely an option to a growing section of the community. That, coupled with their uniquely exclusive relationship with an individual, makes them a critical device.

So, together, we find that our networks and the people we know are becoming more and more central to what we do; what we buy; what we read and what interests us. Not so much ‘herd’ mentality as ‘tribal’ interests. Conversations between people relate either to the imparting of new information, or the discussing of shared information – so knowing what our friends are doing, reading and saying will influence what we are also likely to do, read or say. And as the whole idea of ‘life caching’ means that the mobile will move into being a part of the way we capture and consume the stories that are our day.

In order to facilitate this, we need to ensure that our relationship with our consumers takes into account the fact that their networks and social graph are far more important that we are (the mere deliverers of content) and that recognising their primary relationships (social) also means ensure that we continue to know who they are (and what they’ve done) regardless of the device through which our relationship with them is mediated – thus ensuring that our knowledge of what will drive them encompasses all those elements of their life. (The zero, one, two, three rule.)

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Facebook Fatigue or Social Networking as a ‘feature’

8 October, 2007

Does it exist or doesn’t it?

I wonder if the phenomena is one that attacks older SocNet participants, who have a rich first live with a solid physical network that they have to spend time (offline) maintaining, as opposed to those who can, either through work or social freedom, take the time and energy to maintain these. Having been dragged away to monitor HSC study for the last few weeks, finding the time to do more than a brief status update has been hard.

I don’t think that this means that social networks are dead, or even dying; I think it means that social networking needs to meet a different part of our lives – where the maintenance of out networks is not as much “heavy lifting” as it is now.

So, if we want to maintain our social networks, but can take the time to keep our own part of this up to do (and it only works if all of us play in the same open, public and participatory manner), where does this mean social networking will go?

Chris Anderson (yes, Long Tail Chris Anderson) recently commented that social networking is a feature and not a destination. I think this is right. He goes on to say “I’m placing my bet on the biggest impact coming when social networking becomes a standard feature on all good sites, bringing community to the granular level where it always works best”

Despite a few people I admire holding out that social networking as destinations are here to stay and that this is where communities have moved their primary communication to – I am, commercially placing my bets with Chris Anderson. I have Facebook fatigue, but don’t want to give up all those now ‘spyware’ benefits of the newsfeed. So how can I have my cake, and eat it too?

I could of ideas are playing around my mind. As a friend of mine described them “Twitter without the heavy lifting”. I like that idea. I want the feed, I want it updated and I want to participate.

But I don’t really want to do any work…