Wednesday, October 14, 2009

The Evolution of Social Media

For those who think social media is a fad, a fast-forward overview of thirty years of social media history should provide some perspective. The article takes us through the ever-shifting ways we have used social media tools to connect with each other through several decades. I think it provides ample evidence that we are evolving ever newer ways of connecting and communicating.

As Clay Shirky pointed out in the book Here Comes Everybody,
"Every webpage is a latent community. Each page collects the attention of people interested in its contents, and those people might well be interested in conversing with one another too. In almost all cases the community will remain latent, either because the potential ties are too weak, or because the people looking at the page are separated by too wide a gulf of time, and so on."

In several ways I think that Google's Sidewiki is a step toward recognizing the potential of "community" in every web page.

As Shirky indicated, we are continuing to experiment with various ways to use these new communication tools. And they will continue to evolve. The article from Cameron Chapman at WebDesignerDepot is a real help in providing perspective.

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Sunday, October 04, 2009

Bringing Social Media to your doorstep

Jeremiah's blog post about Google Sidewiki points out one more reason that brands need to be monitoring constantly -- Sidewiki is letting them comment right next to your web page!

Best take a proactive stance and welcome visitors to your site via that sidewiki space. And then monitor that space regularly for comments.

in reference to: Damage Control: Social Media Reversals « Web Strategy by Jeremiah Owyang | Social Media, Web Marketing (view on Google Sidewiki)

Saturday, October 03, 2009

Google Sidewiki entry by Jim

I already see that owner comments stay at the top, then I see subject-matter-experts, then comments as they have been voted on by viewers. Now if Google uses my contact info from Gmail to float my friend's comments higher, that is really starting to look like a "social relevancy' ranking. That kind of functionality could drive adoption quickly. Otherwise, if the small space just lists things sequentially, there isn't much value-add.

in reference to:

"see what Google is doing right? They are turning the whole web into a social network."
- Google’s SideWiki Shifts Power To Consumers –Away From Corporate Websites « Web Strategy by Jeremiah Owyang | Social Media, Web Marketing (view on Google Sidewiki)

Friday, October 02, 2009

Sidewiki is a game-changer

Indeed the consumers own the social media and the release of Google's sidewiki emphasizes your point that brand owners can no longer afford to not participate. Social content can and will be published -- and now appear right next to your own corporate web content.

in reference to:

"The reality is, CONSUMERS own social media, not brands and certainly not agencies. Whether we like it or not, we now must market our brands in a landscape where consumers have the tools to make their voice heard, and the technology to hear what everyone else is saying. Any more hesitation on the part of a brand to participate and engage in dialogue with their consumers is extremely risky. It's not about waiting to get this "right", but about participating now (ie. small pilot programs with a focus on learning, experimentation, and quick wins), and doing so with a spirit of honesty and transparency."
- Saatchi Wellness: Who Owns Social Media (view on Google Sidewiki)

Google’s SideWiki Merging the Social Web with Web Pages

A week ago Google announced Sidewiki, a free toolbar service that lets anyone (anyone registered with Google, that is) add comments to any web page... yes, ANY web page. This raises all sort of questions about who can and will monitor such comments. Of course there are usage policies that you agree to follow, but the real question -- for the owner of the web page -- is who (and how) will these policies be monitored and enforced?

Jeremiah Owyang writes in his blog ( about shifting power to consumers and away from corporate website publishers. Others have written about this being a field day for the lawyers. It will be interesting to see how it shakes out. Adoption will be very much based on the ease of access and the value-add that the service provides.

In a July 17th post I wrote about the increasing need for "social relevancy" ranking. In that post I said, "... the folks who thunk up the PageRank algorithms we all use today are likely focused on it." I didn't know how prescient that statement was.

It seems that Sidewiki is already demonstrating that it intends to sort the page comments based on who provided them and their "voted upon", perceived value. If they then use your Google profile to start adding additional levels of social "relevancy" ranking to these comments, things could get very interesting.

This seems to me to represent a HUGE step toward merging "content providers" and "content consumers" into one level playing field. Lets keep watching to see where it goes!

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Thursday, October 01, 2009

We Are Living In Augmented Times

The latest update on Augmented Times ( has some cool new videos and this wonderful mockup by Matthew Buckland and Philip Langley of possible future AR social networking apps. The technology is largely all available and is waiting for the right "spark" to make it all come together.

Combining AR with facial recognition, social engagement & networking, mobile & GPS features - the times are ripe to see some big new launches. It will happen faster than we can imagine.
...with, of course, self-improvement and real estate ads liberally sprinkled in.

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