Thursday, June 11, 2009

Social Networks: Paradigm Shift, or Overhyped Fad? Part 2.

Part 2 of my discussion with Brian of MadPropstoBakedPotatoes follows. Part 1 ended with me asking Brian to explain how social network relationships would result in actual purchases.

Brian: You're approaching it wrong - stop thinking in terms of monetizing your social network
MC: Ok, I'll keep it more to the level I know, then--friendizing it, if you will, ha.
Brian: Stop thinking in terms of real-world vs online-world, because they're becoming the same thing
MC: Hmm...the days of using social networks for escapism are over, then?
Brian: It's the same as walking into a cocktail party as far as I'm concerned
Go in, meet people, learn about them, become friends
Someone needs a freelance writer, and I'm like "Hey, I know so-and-so from this or that network - they'd be perfect"
MC: And so a large database of skills and personalities is assembled, that might not be available locally.
Brian: I mean those are the broad strokes of what this all is.
If you're a business there are certainly tools and techniques you want to use.
MC: But, when we talk about "making friends" in an on-line sense, there still is not the same level of legitimacy, trust, and reliability that there is in real life.
Brian: But in broad strokes, this is "you can now have a cocktail party with the entire world"
MC: And maybe if your vision is true that the two are merging, that will change.
Brian: That's part of what's happening - notice I'm no longer The Cavalier
MC: I see social networks as giving me MANY weak ties--but few strong ones.
Brian: You want to know who I am, you can search me out and find out
It's all what you make of them - you can be as transparent as you want
MC: one thing I appreciate about soc. net. is that credentials don't matter.
Brian: But I'll bet you find you make stronger ties with your real name than you do when you're MCBias
MC: I find the key is to put up real photos/video of myself. If people see a real image, they connect more.
Brian: I'll tell you what the next big thing is
And remember, I called online video a year before YouTube
What's next is Personal Branding
It's why Linkdin is growing so fast
MC: I initially was very high on social networks when I first got involved...I just find over time that I become more cynical on how far they will take you
I can shove my foot in a lot of doors I never could have gotten into before
and having a few friends opens the door to more friends in a nice golden spiral of sorts
But the true pay-offs seem to be beyond social networking--you still can't make a frog into a prince or what not.
MC: I think that looking at social networks as a paradigm instead of a tool may be mistaken, but I am surprised by how many inroads Facebook has made in the older set.
Brian: Well the term social networks is like the fetus of what this will all be eventually
MC: I think that there will be a sharp demarcation in the end
between the daylight, which will be personal branding, somewhat sanitized social networks
like linkedin and facebook
and very obscure, escapist, no one uses their real name communities
But I wonder, what's our capacity to be involved with social networks? Are we all going to be sitting in our houses drinking beer and chatting with each other instead of going out locally?
Brian: Sure, but everyone will have a foot in the former - you'll have to
That's where mobile comes in
MC: I think I may have said this, but I think Twitter's popularity is 90% due to being first mobile social network.
Brian: Sitting at a desk working at a traditional computer will be for people who need that type of hardcore hardware and processing power
(had discussion on American vs. European/Japanese innovation and tools, omitted)
I'm talking like ten years from now - you might be having a party in your house, and you've got essentially a massive screen on your entire wall
Brian: You hop on Twitter2020, and want to find a party in Tokyo to "party-connect" with - their party is on your wall and vice versa
MC: And I've seen some of this already in the blogtv communities
Brian: You can do some Minority Report action, call up the profile on the hot blond in the dress, and see her name, what she does, etc
MC: capabilities are there. But people are holding back.
Brian: and you talk to her. And she'll need for that profile - her personal brand well established
Brian: If I had to sum up the entire thing of what I'm trying to say, it's that social networks are the beginning of "The ability to easily and genuinely connect with real people worldwide".
Brian: How you use that ability is the same as how you use the ability to connect with your immediate world right now.
MC: I agree with easily. I strongly disagree with genuinely and worldwide to this point, given my previous experiences.
But perhaps I should stop being such a cynic--I mean, I just came back from NYC where I did a sports blogger meetup
Brian: That's why it's a paradigm shift - we're only just beginning.
MC: and I've been doing stuff like that easily in 2009, where it never would work well pre-2009.
Brian: Right - I mean the stigma of "meeting someone online" has only begun to wear off in the last 2 years or so!
MC: Hmm...I'll keep paying attention to social networks. They fit my skills well. The last thing I want to do is climb off the bandwagon just as my work is about to pay off
Brian: Soon there will be no difference - the online world will just be a different platform of the real world.
MC: But, I don't have the "this will turn water to wine" look in my eyes I first had
Brian: And there will be dangers, just like in the real world.
MC: when I went through my first two Internet community experiences
Yes, and perhaps personal branding and more transparency is the answer to those dangers...or at least a start.
I guess, count me as a doubtful fan of social networks. Maybe my excitement about them was just premature, and the world will catch up.
I still think that people will be surprised just how hard it is to match real and on-line worlds, though.


  1. i first joined twitter almost two years ago (July 07). at that point, it was really boring. i knew like 4 people on there (aside from, like, Kevin Rose and Sarah Lane), and there weren't any companies or news networks or anything like that. i eventually stopped using it for a while and only got back into it about a year ago. the change there, i believe, is proof positive of Brian's points. ive gotten more into using it on a personal level, but it is amazing the ways it can become a customized information/news feed.

    there will always be spam and Oprah/Ashton accounts that bring in useless attention and users, but at the core social networks like this are adding real value in connectivity. it reminds me of when my family first got the internet (Prodigy) and there was really NOTHING to do with it... now we can't live without it.

    interesting. and weird. YAY ROBOTS!

  2. i forgot to add some stuff about personal branding.

    i think Brian is also right on this. people are already making moves toward it, researching, publishing (or something), etc. it is also something i think about from time to time for myself. it doesnt necessarily mean having a logo for yourself, but being concious of how you are portrayed online (and that means everywhere, collectively. ie. facebook pics, which most 'young people' aren't thinking about yet)

    umm... yeah. that is all. (not really. i could go on, but my brain just went all empty.)

  3. I think one of the biggest and most immediate changes will be in how job recruiting is done. I don't know much about that industry, but I'd imagine it's changing rapidly.

    I think we could also see is more people working how the film industry works to some extent, ie perpetual freelance. As conferencing and communication improves, the overhead costs of a central office will become unnecessary in some cases, which will of course change the way a business works altogether on a day-to-day basis.

  4. With all due respect, I do not buy it. I appreciate what is being said but I think McBias was legit in his question of whether or not escapism was coming into play and the trust level the net engenders. I don't debate that people are advocating and applicating more transparent personalities on the internet, but I think (at least in terms of trust) that the internet is still little more than hired bullshit. There is no test, per se. It is still a personality projected and not evaluated. It lacks nuance, depth, and unaware observation. The ease with which people are able to put themselves up for sale does not give you full indication of their character or quality or substance. Can it do a lot? Of course. I ask you, without the internet how expensive would it be for someone to cultivate an interest in high art pornography? How many people, before 1990, have seen as many different women naked as you have now? As a platform it can do a lot of things, and offer people a lot of variety, but as a method for discovering a person's animus or anima it is both woefully inefficient and inaccurate.

  5. First: Sorry so late responding, lots of travel lately.
    Alexis: I too was on the Prodigy bandwagon due to my family. You're right, there was little to do at first. I do remember that they made an interactive book that was rather novel, though. I wouldn't be surprised if there are some good ideas left over from the early 'Net that would work with today's increased bandwidth/connectivity. Nice analogy!

    Brian: Recruiting...hmm, I would agree that the mobile worker, who is willing to take on short-term assignments, will be much blessed by the new style. However, I wonder how much accountability there will be? Still, I'll agree with you that has the best chance of surviving as a social network of any that is now available.

    BP: I think I have to agree with you as well, although I would say that the amateur category is a much better analogy than high-art as to the Internet's true leveling and easy-access effect.

    I've tried to use the Internet to make friends, discuss interesting issues, and, yes, to hit on girls that were out of my league. For the most part, it does not work UNLESS there is a legitimate possibility of a face to face meeting relatively soon. Without it, things fall apart relatively quickly. Now, perhaps we are entering a new era b/c granny and grandpa are now on Facebook, and it's become more socially acceptable. But the day that Joe Six-Pack uses the Internet for more than sports and porn is still years off, in my opinion.