Tech, Gadgets, Photography, Social Media and Poor Spelling
Social media is a term which covers in broad strokes many of the darlings of the web 2.0 era and the web industry such huge names as Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIN, MySpace have all played in this space. The basic concept is for us, that is you, me, everyone to create links with each other so we can keep in touch, communicate and know what each other are doing..
This is unarguably a great idea, pre Social Media keeping in touch involved doing some proactive work, mails, phone calls, letters, pointing people to your website. It was hard and I think it is fair to say a vast majority just didn’t really bother, other than the potential chance run in at a petrol station or sainsburys in a strange town years later once you lost contact that’s how it was..
I think it’s probably safe to say that while Facebook might not be the darling of the investor community right now it is the defacto standard when it comes to Social media sites just because of the sheer world wide volume and the fact your grandparents have probably heard os if and are probably on it. this penetration into the psyche and day to day diverse number of groups, races, cultures, age ranges and many other areas goes some way to showing just why it is that Social media as we know it today is so important. These boundaries which are crossed over these divides which normal society places on us just don’t need to exist in the online world of Social media. People learn and understand cultures, issues and politics of countries if they so choose via facebook, twitter and google+ they can ask questions not of politicians but of real people. All this done over a handful of common platforms.
Social media doesn’t even need to be about things on such a grand scale, keeping in touch with people you know over continents and timezones is easier than it ever used to be. Innovation in technologies mean that the cost of speaking with friends and family is essentially free due to the idea of Facebook Chat/Skype integration and Google Hangouts going part of a system even many less technically gifted are willing to use.
However this communication, boundary breaking and ability to understand has come at a cost, it’s not cheap to keep services with 500million active users running 24 x 7 x 365. While the services are offered to you and I at no cost they are not free, employees need tobe paid, server maintenance, power costs, biscuits need to be bought all of this needs funding and it is at this point the world starts to become a little less rosy and a little bit more unstuck.
It is no great shock that the freemium model we know and love essentially is a trade off where the company supplies the services we love for free to the users and the users in turn provide data and information for mining and sale to the company. Your habits are tracked, clicks, sales, communications, posts, keywords everything are tracked on these services to provide a level of marketing data never before available.
To a degree in the modern internet era we accept this, we know the reality of these free services is advertising and marketing, however these must be, there is a point at which too much information is known about you? And while this article isn’t about the rights or wrongs of the data collection these companies do to make cash i do believe if more people understood just what was being sold about them, their demographic and used on other sites maybe a few more people would question this model.
While we have established that the idea of Social media is an accepted good idea and there is a model on the desktop for generating revenue and while we can also it seems accept the fact that our data is being used to generate advertising revenue. The model of how we are accessing Social media is changing and it’s changing in such a way as to circumvent that lucrative business model.
The current issue being faced by the likes of Facebook, Google and Twitter is the hand in hand of Mobile Smartphones rising in popularity and on the move social media. While Social works well on the desktop the rise of the IOS and Android device in the past few years have taken Social to a new level no longer are we restricted to the end of the day updates we are sharing all the major (or minor in some cases) events which happen during our day, video’s, text and photos.
This increase in uptake is causing all these vendors a two fold issue none of them have marketing built into thier mobile apps and this is a huge increase in storage needed for this uptake. This requires more money needed to be generated to update the systems at the back end. This is a lot harder when the click to pay model isn’t available on the mobile client.
Space, space is a premium on a mobile app, this can be the only reason, it’s not like my login details are any different. However the lack of mobile ads is an opportunity missed. Mobile is just that. On the move the ability to pinpoint a personal location of an app user which in turn coupled with the huge amount of data these companies have on us seems to be an opportunity missed. Targeted local Advertising has huge potential especially for small niche businesses. Arriving back on terrafirma from an underground station and knowing taxi firms, pubs, cafe’s etc in the area not just the usual Pret a Manager, Chain pub has the potential of being big.
And now we come to the blog post title because there is a down side to this social media. It has been described as “A location you can let people you didn’t like enough in the real world to keep in touch with know just how well you are doing, and how bad they are” It’s an ego boost.
However there may be some truth in the knowledge that having very few friends in the real world and hundreds online isn’t healthy and can have a detrimental effect.
The problems the big companies are running into include the same feature bloat that traditional applications like Office have had in the past where lots of new features are added to a platform to keep it relevant at the behest of the service. Take Facebook Skype tie in’s, maps, tags, changes of security all end up with what appears to be feature rich however many users just don’t make use of these features, they use it as a photo posting platform.
All of these features cost cash, and the cash has to be generated, the generation is done via data mining and the data mining only works if the social site can convince us not to have tight security systems. We don’t like the lack of privacy so we lock our accounts down to friends and the data isn’t quite as relevant. which equates to comparatively less revenue and add this to no data for that majority of mobile users when it comes to click to sell. And you have a business model while right now doesn’t appear to be in a huge downslide despite Facebooks recent terrible IPO. It isn’t sustainable. We don’t like sites with advertising, we don’t want obtrusive privacy settings, we are less and less enthralled about being data mined and we are finding more and more bots online trawling the systems and being more annoying.
This isn’t going to happen tomorrow, not maybe in the next few years, however the modle of the smaller social network, the more personal, private social network will be upon use with our networks being created of peer groups or family but rarely both. Path and the Twitter Alternative App.Net are examples of the future of social media. Which sure right now are the geeks only however so were Facebook and Twitter and so is google+ essentially. The concept of smaller more locked in Social Networks will be how we move forward.. you read it here first.