The brilliant duo of Stephen Baker and Heather Green have written one of the most insightful articles on the impact of social media on business models and business organization. It’s a follow up to their cover story in 2005 on How Blogs Will Change Your Business. They did it, of course, by using their own blog, blogspotting, to interract with their audience and come up with fresh, new answers.
Some metrics from Stephen and Heather: There are 9 million blogs out there already, growing at 40,000 a day. Only 27% of internet users look at blogs, but that is growing fast too. Since all information is digital these days, all trends, all data, all potential partnerships, all deals—are in the blogosphere if you can learn to access them (data visualization anyone?).
New features are flooding into the blogosphere allowing people to disintermediate (cut out) all established gate-keepers. That means MSM, mainstream media, music, movie, photo--you tell me--gatekeepers. The good news is that fresh ideas and information is available on a global scale. Let me rephrase that.
We are at the beginning of a Global Creativity BOOM. We've globalized labor, globalized capital, globalized manufacturing. But now, we are unleashing the brilliance of minds around the planet through the blogosphere.
But there are consequences. Corporations are losing control--of their brands, their messages, their marketing, their design, their products and services. Companies have to share power with their consumers. Think demassing, walls coming down, control going.
Blogs are about connection and conversation, not necessarily content or information (although content may, in the end, prove to be a surprising killer app). Tracking the relationships among blogs, understanding the content trails being left behind, is critical to global corporations who want to be at the edge of creation.
Check out David Armano's new creation from Critical Mass: Las Vegas, which attempts to build an event social networking tool. I think it's fascinating. It's a "branded utility," or a social network that is useful to a select group of people. Nike Plus is one such site dedicated to runners.
In a world of social networking and conversations among bloggers, consumers and everyone else, you don't advertise to them, you advertise with them. So companies have to design spaces--or politically ask to join existing networks--where people have a purpose to pursue (if only fun). Las Vegas is a prototype where people can network before, during and after an experienc--going to Vegas baby!
Think of creating these kinds of event social networks around weddings, graduations, bat mitzvahs, grandpas 90th and mom and dad's 50 wedding anniversary--any ceremonial event. And put it on iPhones, please--mobility is pretty critical.
This little discussion moved from blogs and social networking to utility and usefulness. I'll say more on this soon because I think the entire advertising/marketing and /media/journalism industries are being reshaped by digital tools empowering individuals around the world.
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