ReadWriteWeb is a fantastic blogsite...informative and broad-reaching in its coverage of new media. Great resource worth a bookmark. Yesterday, they posted an article with a bit of a contrarian point of view on social media.
"Making Money" is perhaps the biggest challenge social media must face.
Here were some of their posted thoughts:
"Social media" was the term du jour in 2008. Consumers, companies, and marketers were all talking about it. We have social media gurus, social media startups, social media books, and social media firms. It is now common practice among corporations to hire social media strategists, assign community managers, and launch social media campaigns, all designed to tap into the power of social media.With all the great excitement of social media lately, yes, they are right. It is noisy and messy, filled with an endless array of tools and gadgets.
But social media today is a pure mess: it has become a collection of countless features, tools, and applications fighting for a piece of the pie.
Facebook, a once groundbreaking online community, has become the ant colony of third-party applications. Twitter users now have a dozen or so additional applications they can use to overcome Twitter's ever-present shortcomings. People spread themselves across a number of tools and maintain different networks on each (large portions of which they don't even know), making it nearly impossible to decide what to share and with whom.
Users, marketers, and companies face an incredible amount of noise, too. For every new application that relies on a network, another crops up that helps users manage it. While "eyeballs" used to be the coveted metric, both ad publishers and investors now realize that having smaller well-targeted niches can lead to much better returns than marketing to one large undifferentiated mass of users.
Meaning and connection -- two key anchors of all things social media -- are corroding by the day as people's ability to organize their experiences and find the relevance of their networks declines. Social media, in essence, is bumping up against its own ceiling, no longer able to serve the needs of those living within its walls; and for these reasons, social media as we know it is changing course.
So what needs to change? Again, some of ReadWrite Web's top thoughts as social media continues to evolve:
1) It's About People. We're moving away from "users," "customers," and "shoppers": social media is bringing back the human element to all digital interaction.While this year be the year social media and "making money" converge successfully? Or is that still years away?
2) Creating Meaning and Value. Social media will no longer be about features and applications. These have become a dime a dozen. People will be looking to get tangible and relevant value out of their social experience; they'll be looking for meaning and for order.
3) Enabling Convergence. People are at a loss when it comes to pulling their conversations together from various sources and assigning meaning to them.
4) Building a Truly Cross-Platform Experience. In the new landscape of social media, people are seeking solutions that seamlessly cut across mobile, web, and live interaction.
5) Creating Relevant Social Networks. People will create, join, and seek social networks that enable them to have meaningful and relevant experiences with each other. They will measure their return on investment (time spent, level of disclosure, etc.) in replies, comments, their ability to influence, and the value of their learning.
6) Innovating in the Advertising Space. Ad publishers and the attached ecosystem will continue to lose revenue until they realign their understanding of what appeals to people who are conversing, connecting, and expressing. The next phase of social media is a gold mine of targeted niche demographics.
7) Helping People Organize Their "Old" Social Media Ecosystem. As aggregating platforms enter the field, people will seek to bring order to the endless bits of information available to them. Video tagging, conversation archiving, taking cloud computing to the next stage, and making search more relevant are some of the new baseline requirements. These represent a significant opportunity for companies willing to undertake this massive endeavor.
8) Connecting with the Rest of the US and the World. With some exceptions, today's active social media users are early adopters. In the next one to two years, the benefits of social media will cross the chasm and reach the mainstream.
9) Preparing for New Social Media Jobs. Social media's new job descriptions will call on subject-matter experts who can plan for relevant interaction within networks and aggregating platforms and bring together products, services, and people.
10) Making Money. The next phase of social media will bring plenty of lucrative opportunities. With the rise of aggregating platforms, social networks, and new mobile and location-based features, we're bound to see an increase in targeted and personalized ads, "freemium" packaging, revenue sharing between strategic partners, and a flow from the offline world to online social engagement (such as when real goods complement virtual ones).
posted by Chris Kennedy @ Wednesday, January 28, 2009,