SXSW: Future of Social Networks

by Amy Sample Ward on March 14, 2009

Presentation by Charlene Li at SXSW.  You can see the session information here.

“Social networks will be like air.”
Yes, we’ve heard this before, but we can’t conceptualize “air.”

The people who “own” those relationships need to start working together to integrate the platforms.  ASW would argue that the platforms don’t own the relationships; the platforms do own the topic of conversation, or the point of interest—a point that should really be made explicit and especially viewed as actionable.

After all: your friends are your friends – you shouldn’t have to re-find them everywhere you go online.

3 things need to make social networks like air:

  1. Identity – who are you?
  2. Contacts – who you know?
  3. Activities – what do you do?

2 sets of rules/standards

  1. facebook/ facebook connect
  2. open stack

CL says there is not going to be a war between them. The standards are still being developed and it is still early.

Identity

  • professional v personal = two profiles
  • w/ openid you pick where to put your context and info

Contacts

  • friend management
  • pick your friends once – social networking fatigue
  • relationships are always changing
  • calendar, call, sms, facebook, twitter, address book = level of closeness of social data
  • treasure trove of data in your phone (emails, cal, etc.)
  • we have to put our trust in someone – is it google? facebook? isp? have to trust someone with your content, contacts and stream in order to get the kind of data back that you want/need
  • social algorithm will make privacy and permissions easier to manage – context makes content privacy easier, commnity based privacy
  • how do you get everyone to open up? money.

Activities

  • most social ads require explicit action
  • “fan” doesn’t mean “endorsement’
  • “network neighbor”
  • create maps of communication streams
  • personal cpm

How to Prepare for “like air”:

1. Evaluate where social makes sense

  • identify where social network data and content can/should be integrated in the experience
  • leverage existing identify and social graphs where your audience already is
  • get your privacy and permission policies and proceses aligned with an open strategy
  • find your tust agents

2. Get your backend data in order
3. Prepare to integrate social networks into your organization

  • where are customers or users “in” the organization chart (at the top?)

If social media is SO compelling, how it is SO hard for organizations to adopt it? Open networks will be the new norm, so consider how you will open your business or organization.