Social Networks as a Marketing Channel?

Ok, so it seems I’m not alone in my fascination with social networking.

The more I think about it, the more I feel that social networking will evolve into the default definition of the Web. Most of us are now realizing that searching for information on the Web is boring. We want gossip, the latest information. Blogs, consumer driven content, etc. all satisfy those needs.

Have you ever been in a situation where there was gossip flying around and you had to be the latest to know? I certainly have, and I know that doing searches on icerocket and technorati kept me sane – and even then the information seemed to flow too slowly to whet my insatiable appetite to know what is going on. It’s talk radio on steriods, but with topice much more relevant to you.

Now, how to monetize it. I think contextual will be a huge player, and I’m seeing now that personalization is going to have to come to support this new internet – despite the privacy concerns of many. The siippery slope argument of privacy concerns is real as far as perception goes, but I think that as we evolve our internet viewing habits, we’ll see that what we feared in the past was stupid.

If I were a politician, I would be sure I was making laws on how that information could be used. In fact, I’d be for a laws that limit how personal information can be disseminated. But if I want to give Microsoft my life history, as well as my deepest, darkest secrets, that should be ok. And they should be able to use that knowledge to market to me. If you don’t want to give that information up, you don’t have to. But you should realize that you won’t be able to use the stuff that Microsoft sells either. Hmm, give up my personal information or use a typewriter to get reports done? I think my choice is made.

Oh, and note the grid that e-marketer made. Note the top social networking sites. I’m already spending a lot of time on Myspace. I’ll have to look at the others.

Link: Social Networks as a Marketing Channel?.

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