Social networking

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What does Fotchbook’s intended purchase of WhatsApp tell you about the state of online media?  A $16 billion dollar purchase, BTW. It tells me social networking is alive and well (that’s where the money’s coming from) but it also points to the big growth of messaging. And what is messaging? It is a more private version of communicating. The privacy “issue” is not only a political warm potato, it’s a key behavioral care-about.

Social networking has been growing like a dookie until recently but, lately, cool messaging apps (w/ pics, etc.) are the countervailing nemesis. Social networks are how you make new friends and extend your reach of friends. Messaging is how you keep them. Facebook, I suspect, is seeing less daily traffic on a per person basis and is asking where the minutes are going. (Did I just say minutes?) Well, they are going to chat. Ergo 16 big candles are going to WhatApp to help stem traffic loss.

Another thing I love about WhatsApp is the $1.00 a year usage fee. It is a kind of micro transaction I’ve been anticipating for years and one that will take hold of the web in an accelerating fashion. 

So here’s the implication, care about privacy. Care about adding value to friendships. And care about making a little money by charging a little at scale. Peace. 


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As much as things change, they also stay the same. Two cases in point:  I worked with a SEO executive who makes a nice living promising companies he can get them into the top 10 in organic search no matter what the company size or standing.  All it takes, says he, is time, smarts and money.  When I asked how he builds his business, his said through referrals.  “I do good job for one customer and s/he refers me to a friend.”  The response I expected was “through search.”

Case two.  Allstate Insurance (pronounced  IN-surance by my southern in-laws) is undertaking a brilliant cause campaign called Save11. The program is meant to reduce the number of daily teen automobile accident deaths – currently numbering 11.  The program has started on Facebook, though you won’t find Allstate’s name anywhere on the profile page. I learned about the program on the radio.  The program kick off with Blackout week, May 20-27, and Save11 is asking everyone to black out their profile picture to bring awareness to the cause. They are in the awareness building part of the program and to build traction need mass media to spread the word. Old skool.

(Aside:  Is anyone beside themselves that Haley was voted off last night?)

TV viewership s building again, more web IPOs are a comin’, and maybe even the Mets will make a run.  I make a living on what’s new and what’s next, but there are some age old axioms that continue to prove themselves and marketing blocking and tackling are still things in which we must invest. Peace Bibi.

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It’s started.  With the (re?) introduction of Groups, Facebook has started down the path of being less social.  Those who gerrymander themselves from others on the Web are not being social, they’re being anti-social.  Okay, they are also being human.  But for me, the best of social networking is in finding likeminds around the block, country and world.  Sure, I like knowing what far off college pals are doing. And I’m okay knowing what high school classmates whose pictures I don’t recognize care about. And yes, I know it can become unmanageable if you have too many friends and followers and can’t keep up with the stream.   Manage.

Research is probably driving Facebook’s more towards Groups with members are saying I need a way to organize my friends. Yet the feature is going to narrow users’ worldviews.  They will spend more time in the Groups with less people – more insular people. It will be like going to the same bar all the time. Or eating at the same restaurant.  Or reading the same author. Again, very human traits — but traits blown up by social networking.

Facebook Groups will remove some of the serendipity built in to the application.  Like antibiotics, Groups will be a good near term salve but if overused will begin to erode the beauty of the network. My advice, don’t turn it on. Peace!

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