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Social Networking, Advertising and Innovation.

Posted by: Bruce Nussbaum on June 22, 2006

Anyone interested in the broader issue of innovation should take a look at some of the other BW blogs that have different monikers, such as Blogspotting and The Tech Beat. All the boundaries are blurring as to what constitutes “innovation,” so, as you probably already know, you have to do some virtual traveling these days to find the best content to inform you on design and innovation.

There’s a great piece on social networking, advertising and the media by Rob Hof at The Tech Beat. Here is what he has to say:

“Two of the biggest marketers in the world showed up at the Supernova conference in San Francisco today and sounded more like Web 2.0 zealots than brand giants. Michael Wiley, director of new media, GM Communications, at General Motors, who’s responsible for GM blogs, sounded the most radical: “The existing advertising paradigm sucks,” he said. “It’s woefully inefficient. We give consumers virtually no information.”

He and colleague Curt Hecht, executive VP and chief digital officer at GM, have been meeting with social networking and media companies in the area the last couple of days, and Wiley sounds like a fan: “We see the new social media space as a place we can become engaged,” he said.

Likewise, Stan Joosten, Procter & Gamble’s innovation manager for holistic customer communication (how’s that for a title?), said P&G needs to experiment more with social media—carefully. “We have to stay out of some places” where people don’t want to see ads, he noted. But he says P&G wants to engage with customers wherever they are online. “People want to talk about things they care about and you give them a platform to do that.”

Interesting stuff from companies that have helped define mass-market advertising for decades.”

And there’s another great piece on social networking and the media by Heather Green on Blogspotting. Here it is:

“I was talking recently with Ben McConnell and Jackie Hubb, consultants who run the Church of the Customer blog, and they explained their theories on the rise of customer evangelism. One point that struck me was the role that the services such as Flickr and YouTube have had in making social media take off. Putting up a video clip or a photo is an expression of self creativity and is another form of media that contributes to the splintering of the mass market.

But having a service where you can aggregate those mini pieces of media together and that helps you share them even more broadly, to syndicate them in fact, turbocharges that new media. This way, content begets content, McConnell and Hubb explained. That’s classic network effects. That means that the percieved benefit of content grows as the community does.

I remember when I first started looking at video blogs around 18 months ago, what struck me was how they exploded the traditional video model. But they still needed something to help more of them break out. iTunes clearly helped, but the network effects of these other platforms is even more powerful. “

That’s pretty interesting stuff from Rob and Heather. I live inside the world of media, working in both the online and print media, and the shift to social networking and social production of content has got to be one of the most revolutionizing changes in recent decades. It goes way beyong disaggregation and digitalization. In fact, I think it is part of a great trend toward what I call Direct Design or what others call Participatory Design. It’s the next step beyond the User Experience.

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Want to stop talking about innovation and learn how to make it work for you? Bruce Nussbaum takes you deep into the latest thinking about innovation and design with daily scoops, provocative perspectives and case studies. Nussbaum is at the center of a global conversation on the growing discipline of innovation and the deepening field of design thinking. Read him to discover what social networking works—and what doesn’t. Discover where service innovation is going and how experience design is shaping up. Learn which schools are graduating the most creative talent and which consulting firms are the hottest. And get his take on what the smartest companies are doing in the U.S., Asia and Europe, far ahead of the pack.

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