Archive: social networks

„Die Website, wie wir sie heute kennen, wird es bald nicht mehr geben“

Dieses Interview habe der Beilage Digitale Medien der WuV gegeben, erschienen diese Woche:

soziale netzwerke haben eine eigendynamik entwickelt, die kaum jemand voraus gesehen hat. Wie begründen sie diesen erfolg?

Social Media bildet im Grunde nur digital ab, was Menschen schon immer getan haben: sich austauschen, befreunden und mitteilen. Sie erleichtern die Suche nach Gleichgesinnten, ehemaligen Kontakten und Beziehungen. Wenn man so will ist ein Soziales Netzwerk eine Art Suchmaschine für menschliche Beziehungen. Dabei steht allerdings das „in Kontakt bleiben“ im Vordergrund.

Was kann ein soziales netzwerk leisten, was macht es aus?

Zum Reiz sozialer Medien gehört, dass diese für jeden Einzelnen etwas anderes sein können: Freunde halten, die engsten Liebsten über das eigene Leben unterrichten, Interessen bekunden, sich inhaltlich austauschen, Ereignisse nachklingen lassen, die eigene Karriere fördern. Soziale Medien macht auch die Einfachheit aus – die am simpelsten zu bedienenden Plattformen sind auch die Erfolgreichsten.

Wer nutzt es und welcher Mehrwert steht im focus?

Die meisten sozialen Netzwerke haben einen soziodemographischen Fokus, wie ursprünglich schuelerVZ oder MySpace. Einige Plattformen umspannen sehr unterschiedliche Zielgruppen, wie Facebook, wer-kennt-wen.de oder meinVZ. Mit inhaltlich orientierten Diensten wie youtube und sevenload steht zunehmend auch die situationsbedingte Interaktion im Vordergrund: heute Verbotene Liebe mit einer Interessentengruppe diskutieren, morgen Star Trek.

das thema datensicherheit ist im Zusammenhang mit sozialen netzwerken sehr wichtig. Worauf sollten nutzer achten?

Wie im realen Leben muss jeder Nutzer darauf achten, wem er was über sich selbst preisgibt. Was einmal im Netz ist, ist dort für immer. Jeder muss sich bewusst machen, dass das posten in Sozialen Netzwerken eine Veröffentlichung ist, die auch viel über den Nutzer preisgeben kann. Das macht den Reiz,bei unvorsichtigem Handeln aber auch ein we- nig die Gefahr aus. Letztere lässt sich durch besonnenes Handeln vermeiden.

Was haben die user zu erwarten, wie werden sich die sozialen netzwerke weiterentwickeln?

Soziale Interaktion wird immer mehr zu einer normalen Dimension eines jeden Angebots in den digitalen Netzen. Die Verbreitung des “Like”-Buttons von Facebook ist ein erster Schritt in diese Richtung. Auch Inhalte wie sozial verknüpfte Fotos und Videos werden sich zunehmend in verschiedenen Diensten und Portalen ausbreiten.Die Website,wie wir sie heute kennen – quasi als „digitale Zeitung”, die durch Klicks geblättert wird – wird es bald nicht mehr geben.

The Future of (web) TV

Reflecting on the current discussions, last at the Delphi Executive conference in Bonn, and at CeBIT which I both attended as a speaker, I recalled the very lively panel at DLD 09 around online video and social media. If you are interested in the topic, the video gives you insights with Brightcove, Endemol, sevenload and Termor Media and a great moderator, David Kirkpatrick from Fortune Magazine.

About the specifics of how we perceive the value of recurring WebTV Content, please check my Interview at ETRE in Stockholm:

ETRE 2008: Axel Schmiegelow describes the sevenload community and “The Future of TV” from curtis newton gmbh on Vimeo.

Viral Social Commerce

These past months have, in a way that I would not have thought possible, created a start-up market situation closely resembling a certain period in time that we had in 1999. A number of new start-ups have sprung up that stem from what I call “feature-itis”, that is: their main business idea is not the creation of a value that addresses a particular market in a way that is commercially feasible, but much more the “hey- wouldn’t it be cool if it were possible to do this or that on the web” impulse.

If you sift through the business history of the first and second wave of the internet and try to analyze which companies ended up being successful, which companies were moped up as additional features to Yahoo! and bought out, and which companies simply failed, you find out that at the end of the day it’s not at all about a new economy, it’s about very old principles of

– servicing viable markets
- with a viable market proposition/value proposition
- and at an affordable price

in the widest sense of price, that is: convenience, access, time, budget and eventually price in dollars.

If we now look at what I like to call Web 3.0, that is, the commercial maturity of the social phenomena that we are observing with Web 2.0, then remembering that business history and applying the method of identifying customers for a market that are prepared to pay a given price, is a healthy mental exercise.

You’ll allow me to refer to myself and my earlier Blog entry about the distinction between Web 1.0, Web 2.0 and Web 3.0 and briefly describe Web 2.0 as the discovery that the internet is not only a repository for information and data, and a network through which e-mail and chat communication can happen, but has become a medium where

the human source of information

and human source of opinion and entertainment becomes as accessible as the data that he/she has created, that is at the core of the Web 2.0 social revolution. And as any revolution, it creates a whole new set of social behavioural changes, business opportunities, political implications and essentially an entirely new medium- which incidentally is not only confined to the Blog or Social Network phenomenon.

Stating these now commonplace insights into Web 2.0 leads me to reflect upon the Web 3.0 phenomenon, that is the commercial viability of all of these changes. As described in my Blog entry, I believe strongly that this will be the era where the source of data and information, and essentially this means the

human individual as a source of expertise,

can more and more market that expertise in many different ways- either

- by being accessible as an expert or
- by offering more in depth information or
- services related to the information
- transactions / products related to the information

for any kind of currency (this may be a social reward or a commercial reward/payment) in a variety of models that can range from subscription to micro-payments or even other forms of transaction that we may not yet even imagine (my informed hunch is “subscription” will mean many different rental models that are being imagined right now). As of now, the main focus of business endeavour in the Web 2.0 to Web 3.0 transition era, is to create and monetize exactly these kinds of platforms- much in the way that sevenload is doing for the video world.

In the future, business focus will be to harness the technologies, communication methods and social behaviour of Web 3.0 to create new value and new markets, thereby disrupting existing business structures. Increasingly, this will be achieved by individuals and small companies rather than larger companies.

The challenge is to identify these markets beyond advertising. If we look at what is happening right now in the Web 2.0 sphere, it is essentially one giant cannibalization of the editorial market, trying to supplement old media and replace them with “Facebook-”, “MySpace-”, and “YouTube-” (new) models of broad- and selfcasting and interaction with the user. That will, of course, be successful, but it is hardly imaginable that more than a productivity or effiency increase of more than 25-35% (maybe even 40% or 50% through better targeting) with relation to the advertising market can be sustained.

Even more market volume may be created by opening the advertising market to new segments that, until now, had a high cost barrier towards advertising, for example in the Long Tail of smaller and mid-sized companies, or in niche markets which had to rely on direct marketing because there was no medium for them to address at sales efficient cost on a large scale.

This disruption of the advertising marjet is of course fueled by the radically changed cost-dynamics of Web 2.0 platforms and the possibility to address the long-tail of content and offering highly specific audiences to as specific advertisers.

This opening of niche markets for advertising may one day – probably soon to come – come as far as user groups and communities centered around exotic topics such as the nuts and bolts of drilling joints (or something similar).

But by and all, if advertising is the only focus of what is happening right now, there will inevitably be a crunch at the moment of realization that there is just not enough money in these markets to create hundreds of new billion dollar companies. Even though a return to the Nuclear Winter of The Internet of 2001-2003 seems unlikely, it is highly probable that we will have a structurally similar shake-down and that just one or two more Yahoo!(s) or Google(s) will crop up, having found the holy grail of

on-demand fully trackable horizontal niche long tail CPA advertising

By the way, addressing that advertising market will also have to overcome a formidable opponent which is very well positioned to address the long-tail of advertising, and that is Google.

My point in this Blog post is that there have to be, and there will be business models beyond advertising and they are starting to emerge. Essentially these will be transaction based and will be centered either around the handling of goods in an e-commerce sense (that is already being seen in a number of start-ups) for example, by itravel, but there will also more and more be transaction platforms centered around services, much in the sourcing logic mentioned above.

The sum of these developments is what I call “viral social commerce”. It is viral in the sense that its dynamics of growth/expansion are very much word-of-mouth and very much based on the social phenomena of Web 2.0.

*I might add, that these phenomena are not new, word-of-mouth has always been the most powerful marketing instrument, it’s just that technology has enabled it to travel at light-speed, where before it was at a horse carriage pace.

It is social in the sense that, not only communication, but also increasingly parts of the production process and the definition of the product/service offered will be defined not by an entity that is producing it, but rather by a group of people or a community that adds a significant part of the value that is being created. An example for that is again itravel, where the travel community creates a lot of the product knowledge and even product sourcing that is necessary to create its catalogue of once-in-a-lifetime-experiences. Another example is ChariTees, where the community sources not only the designs, but also decides which designs will appear on t-shirts and also decides which institution would benefit from that part of the proceeds of ChariTees that is being spent on charity.

The commerce part of the “viral social commerce” idiom, reflects on what I was describing at the beginning of my post, namely that this is more than a social communication phenomenon and it is also more than pure interaction, it is in essence a whole new commercial dimension to what happens in our increasingly web-enabled society.

Viral social commerce is, for me, the essence of what will happen with Web 3.0. In my next post, I will describe how companies can confront this development and attain competitive advantages by harnessing them.

It pays to read

Hi, I’m back @ reading the basics, which i can only recommend:

1. The Cluetrain Manifesto – the bible for “power to the customer” revolutionaries

2. The Tipping Point – winning the multiplyers is the real model for building a community / social network

3. The Long Tail Parts I and II – that’s where it’s going, folks – you can’t think enough about the implications

4. Blue Ocean Strategy – THE method for innovation

Read it. Apply it.

Cheers

R0cketrabbit

Social Grassroots or Social Business @ Supernova2006

I’m in San Francisco @ the Supernova2006 co-hosted by Wharton West, the California branch of Wharton School of Business, University of Pennsylvania.

http://www.supernova2006.com

Fascinating insights with a wide variety of companies. On the social networking / collaborative search side, Plum and netvibes stick out.

Yesterday we had a day of workshops with some hot discussions on exactly how new and self-sufficient social networks are. One side argues, in my opinion with truth to it, that word-of-mouth, the “wisdom of crowds”, and social collaboration are as old as humanity and Web 2.0 still has to prove a business case vs. just being a second wave of featureitis. The other side, among them cluetrain manifesto co-Author D. Weinberger, argue that the warmth of social networks is something entirely new, allowing companies to give users and customers the feeling of “being on their side”. Obviously both views hold truth.

I’m surprised at how advanced the American startups are in terms of user growth and speed of execution, but just as surprised to see that there is a lack of focus on viable business models I find surprising in post-bubble times. Entrepreneurs, though, are more cautious and less bullshitty than 6 years ago.

Looking forward to the next two days with Skype, Craigslist, Ether, Wikia, and many other smart companies.

Cheers

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