My Ramblings on Social Networking, Word of Mouth, and Online Communities.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Badges? We don't need no stinking Badges!

Badges huh? Widgets? Whatever they are called, I decided to add some. Take a look at my sidebar to the right. What do you think?

Findory - I go here a lot to read the news and blogs. This widget searches current blog entries using "Social Networking" as the keyword.

ThisNext - Social Shopping is here. This site lets you add items that you recommend and then you can create a widget to add to your blog.

Meebo - Still amazes me, you can chat with me if I happen to be online. Very very cool!

Wow, it's been that long?

Time flies when you are having fun I guess. I've updated the look to this blog. Let me know if you like the color scheme.

Monday, March 28, 2005

What do you think of

The Blog Signal Vs. Noise totally trashes Whe I first stumbled upon their site I thought, wow a Social Networking Site that incorporates e-commerce, how interesting. But after looking it over I shared some of the same sentiments as those who posted comments. The original concept when they were just Metails was great, but it seems that since they were acquired by they are getting a lot of flack from bloggers. They are trying to bring back the idea of an online shopping mall. Many felt that less features equals more..."If you can’t do one thing well, do several things poorly," posted Jeni. No wonder Flickr gets so much praise these days while other SN sites get trashed, can you feel the backlash? Also, Yub's marketing effort and the way they describe their website can be best described as cheesy, misleading, and insulting at times. Check out the post, some of the comments are very funny.

Friday, February 25, 2005

Just Say No to Social Networking?

Over at The Big Picture, Barry Ritholtz writes why he "Don't Do Social Networking Sites." He raises some valid concerns about your personal privacy on all of these sites. If one goes out of business as they surely will at some point, what happens to your info? Will they sell it? Most have privacy policies that say they won't but can you trust them? I guess my take on this is that he makes a good point, you should be careful about the your information you enter into these sites, use secondary email (spam) accounts, don't give your full name, etc. But at the same time, I feel that SN is has too much potentional as an online tool to miss out on. Plus people give valuable information to other non-SN websites (credit card #'s) that could go under too, so does this mean we shouldn't shop online either?

Thursday, February 24, 2005

General or Specific SN?

So I started to look at some of the older posts on Operating Manual for Social Tools. It's a great site on the topic of Social Networking sponsored by ZeroDegrees. Basically after looking at this Blog, Stowe Boyd better articulates what I was saying below. He writes:

MySpace and other more successful services are getting attractive growth rates because they are serving existing, well-defined communities (like the Indie music scene) who lacked a means to self-organize prior to the adoption of the service.

That makes sense, music is very much a part of MySpace, I think someone call them the MTV of SN. That being said I still consider MySpace to be more general than other SN sites out there. Still has the problem of too many people adding friends that are not really friends. This causes what Christopher Allen calls "The Dunbar Triage" refering to the the rule that you can not manage more than 150 real social connections.

We, the users, are voting with our feet, and streaming away from the undifferentiated toward the particularized. Smaller markets, but much more rich and deep experiences for the users.

The problem with this is that most people have more than one "particularized" interest. So how many SN sites will I have to join and keep track of? Is it better to be part of just one general SN site or to join multiple SN sites that are more focused on a niche? In a perfect world these focused SN sites should allow users to easily export their networks of contacts to others sites.

Social Networking Application Survey

Over at Corante, Stowe Boyd has posted some results from his survey on Social Networking Apps. Interesting that 75% of users report being "socially spammed." What's really interesting to me however is that close to 85% felt that SNA's lacked to some degree, critical features causing them to be be less essential to the users. What features I wonder...what do people want SNA's to do for them?

Click here to look at the original survey.

Sunday, February 20, 2005

Insight on Branding

The Social Customer Manifesto writes that you should think of a Brand as a place and not as a thing. They list 3 different types of "places" for a brand today.

  • The vendor/brand can provide a venue that the customer may visit. Vendor-driven users groups are a great example. Online communities are another. A corporate blog is yet another. Example: RUG. (disclosure: we've done some work with these folks in the past)
  • A social customer may create a venue like this or this or this. Smart companies will show up at the customer's door and jump right in to the conversation. As noted a number of times previously, David S. does this really well (check the comments here when Jason C. teed off on Technorati).
  • A neutral venue may exist, like Epinions, where both the customers and the vendors can gather.
How about a single location for all of this? A place that aggregates various reviews, raves, and rants on different brands from all sources. Instead of going to a site like Epinions to enter in reviews, if you blog about it, the site will find it. I think this could be useful.

Open API's and Social Networking

Joe LaPenna offers a great point about proprietary Social Networking sites like Friendster, MySpace, and Orkut. These networks do not compete on technical merit, only on size of their audience, as that has a direct effect on more people signing up with their service. I don't totally agree there, I think MySpace has taken away users from Friendster by offering more features like digital media and games (no solid numbers, just a hunch of mine. I wonder if there is anyone tracking these numbers). But that being said, Joe is right, it's stupid that there are multiple SN's out there. What's happening with FOAF? Unless Freindster or MySpace allow for Open API's like Joe suggests, if an open SN tool comes along, they'll all be toast.

Dating and Business Contacts are still the 2 most popular applications for SN at this point. So as long as Social Networking is being used for Social Networking, we'll have this problem. What we need to see is SN being used for something else. Any suggestions?

Saturday, February 19, 2005

Spammers on MySpace

MySpace has now overtaken Frienster as the most poplular online SN community. Check out this article about a spammer who was arrested for his activites on the site. The Techdirt blog raises a good point. Isn't SN designed to prevent spam, since you can only get messaged by people who are in your network? Should this be the responsibilty of MySpace to prevent spam? The problem is that on sites like MySpace, for some users, it's a race to see who can get the most contacts in their network. It's like look at me I have thousands of friends, I'm cool! How many times do people give props to random strangers in the hopes that they add them to their network? So if you don't want to get spammed, don't add people who are not really your friends. If you're still getting spammed, get new friends.

Friday, February 18, 2005

Citizen Marketing

Jackie Huba recently posted about the rise of Citizen Marketers on her Blog The Church of the Customer. She writes:

Traditional media structures are undergoing vast molecular changes that decentralize their power, diminish their reach and usurp their authority. This bubbling stew of change is creating the DNA for a new forum of marketing unlike any other. It may make brand managers accustomed to top-down message control blanch, but it's too late. The construct is set. Message control is obsolete. Marketing control is futile.

The citizen marketers are here.

With technological advances, it's becoming easier and easier for people to create marketing campaigns for products they like. Moving beyond traditional word of mouth. Should corporations be afraid? Only if they are unwilling to give up control.