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  • robmansfield 1:38 pm on June 3, 2009 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Social Media   

    The value of online social relationships 

    BizWeekIf you missed it Business Week had a great article on the gold rush that is going on around online social networks.  Everyone agrees that being able to tap into the power of common interests is huge. As the article points out our friends are “our trusted sources”. 

    What is easy to forget is the business model around harnessing this power is still undefined.  Even the largest online communities like FaceBook and Twitter have yet to define how they will turn social connections into advertising dollars.  That being said there certainly have been some promising studies correlating our social circles with behavior. This article has no great theories on the right answer but does give a good sense of the different efforts that are happening.

    Personally I find the current “wild west” of social media fasinating.  Sure I enjoy getting updates on what my family, friends, coworkers, etc. are up to but that is not what keeps me engaged.  The potential of mining our personal choices and being able to customize how we live, work, shop, etc. is vast.  Imagine knowing that the next book you buy or DVD you rent is the result of carefully calculations which consider multiple factors about you.  Chances are the quality of that experience will be higher than the “hunt and peck” methods we use today.

  • robmansfield 8:42 pm on December 23, 2008 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Social Media,   

    Facebook jumps the shark 

    At first Facebook was truly an amazing experience in connecting with the people from my past as well as keeping up with those who I would still consider friends today.  Being a busy guy with two kids and a corporate job it is tough to do the socializing I once did.  Of course, checking the latest status posts and family pictures via FaceBook a few times a week (okay, few times a day) is no replacement for real human contact but it is better than nothing.

    So it is with great sadness that today is the day I proclaim that Facebook has jumped the shark. If your not familiar with the term “jump the shark” look no further than UrbanDictionary.com which defines it as “a term to describe a moment when something that was once great has reached a point where it will now decline in quality and popularity.” Of course, the term originates from the classic TV show Happy Days which despite it legions of fans hung around a little longer than it’s shelf life and eventually became a bit of a joke (see video below).

    Anyway, back to the point.  As if it were not bad enough that that my FB experience has become a mix of

    • certain folks who give the details of every moment of their lives (do you really need to announce that your going the bed????)
    • others who feel that they need to post witty/insightful/wise/funny updates which probably took a good portion of their day to refine prior to posting
    • scanned pictures from 15+ years ago to allow others to share in high school nostalgia

    But today was the day I casually checked my email account to find a FB friend request from a friend of my mother!  My mom! Her friend is 78 years old!

    Don’t get me wrong.  I am not prejudice to the elderly.  This particular woman is a close family friend and extremely cool regardless of her age.  But I can’t help feeling like a line has been crossed.  Social media and for that matter the internet are a part of my generation and more specifically my own existence.  I make my living as a technical director for an online retailer.  I spent my early 20’s riding the dot com wave.  How is it that someone born before World War II is sending me friend requests????

    I guess I need to remember that this website began as a way for Harvard coeds to get to know each other and has expanded into every corner of society.  I know how pissed the college crowd was when FB lost it’s cred and went “mainstream” by opening up to others.  I guess I am going through a similar experience.  Am I going to stop visiting the site on a regular basis?  Of course not.  But as one of the earlier adopters of social media it is starting to feel like Facebook and others in it’s genre are getting a little less “special”.

    Oh well, you can’t fight progress.

  • robmansfield 10:14 pm on July 25, 2008 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Social Media, ,   

    Getting into Twitter 

    I first heard about Twitter almost two years ago at a MicroSoft conference in Las Vegas. At the time I wrote it off as just one of the many “killer apps” that were being shopped around. Why should I care about a site that seemed to be nothing more than a web based message board where the only topic is what I am up to? So it came and went from my radar pretty fast.

    But then recently it reappeared seemingly everywhere all at once. Folks were mentioning it in conversation when they needed to reference an example of web 2.0. Coworkers were updating their Twitter status on their BlackBerry in an attempt to fight boredom during a meeting. And it has been a constant conversation piece on Diggnation podcasts (one of my favorite podcasts and a must if your into technology, pop culture or off beat news).

    Despite all the exposure I am not sure how Twitter seemed to make sense for me now and why I have adopted it as my digital journal. Maybe I have given up trying to stay in touch with people through conventional means like conversation over dinner. The best way to know what I did last weekend is to check Facebook and if your one of those rare individuals who cares what I am up to in real time, follow me on Twitter.

    Don’t get me wrong, Twitter is not for everyone. First of all you have to be comfortable with mobile web (the point of it is to add content “on the go”, not just when you sit in front of a computer). Also, lets face it, you need to be a little full of yourself to constantly be writing updates on what your doing at that moment and thinking it is important enough that others are anxiously waiting to read it. Regardless, I have to say I am hooked.

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