Posts tagged "MySpace"

Does every new technology have to be a ‘killer?’

Recently, there have been several devices, applications, technologies, etc. that have been released that were dubbed ‘killers’ in their category, and I wanted to take a moment to analyze this phenomenon.  Why must these new tools ‘kill’ the existing tools in order to be relevant?  Is this just a case of the media, tech bloggers, etc. gone awry with the hype?

Here are a few examples to demonstrate what I’m talking about:

Google Nexus One, Motorola Droid – ‘iPhone killers’
Facebook Titan – ‘Gmail killer’
Google Buzz – ‘Twitter killer’

and an oldie, but goodie: Facebook – ‘MySpace killer’

For a moment, let’s just imagine that you are one of the millions of happy people that are using the latter mentioned platforms.  Do you welcome the thought of your beloved technology, application, etc. being ‘killed’ by a new entrant to the market?  If you’re an iPhone user or developer, do you welcome the idea of that platform being trounced by a competitor? Or how about Gmail users?  Do you welcome the idea that Facebook Titan could roll in and crush Gmail?  In some cases, new entrants enhance the offering that exists and making things better for everyone, but it doesn’t always work that way.

Maybe I’m just growing weary of the constant barrage of new tools that seem to be trying to take down the market leaders that people are happily using currently instead of figuring out ways to incorporate them into their new offering.  On the other hand, I welcome tools that help aggregate the vast volume of information that’s floating around out on the social web.  Google has the potential to provide some real value here if they play nice.  I was encouraged by an article I read this morning on the Salmon Protocol that Google is developing currently that would allow comments to flow in real time between the original source out to aggregators, thereby reducing redundant data and allowing a more seamless experience for users.  Right on!  That sounds like a step in the right direction.  I’d love to see more of this kind of improvements to the social graph for everyone.

The reality is that companies don’t always have to kill off a ‘competitor’ to be successful, but they do have to offer something of value that doesn’t exist already.  It’s not enough to just build a ‘me-too’ app and pressure people into using it.  Frankly, that’s what Google Buzz felt like to many people due to the way it was released.  Looking back at some old rivalries such as Microsoft vs. Apple, which has been going on for decades, history teaches us that there is room for multiple profitable players in the market.  In fact, competition is the main driver of progress, so let’s celebrate this competitive spirit!

Think about it – do we really want any of the tools or applications that we use today to be killed off by a big monolithic corporation?  Personally, I like my iPhone, I like Facebook, I like Twitter, and I like MySpace (although I don’t use it as much anymore).  I’ll keep an open mind about any new technology, but I’m much more apt to be receptive if the new tools help me with the volume of social data I’m already processing and not try to pry me away onto another platform or service or abandon the tools that are working for me today.

What do you think?  Is this just media hype or are there underlying motives behind some of these moves?


photo credit: iStock Photo

Does every new technology have to be a 'killer?'

Recently, there have been several devices, applications, technologies, etc. that have been released that were dubbed ‘killers’ in their category, and I wanted to take a moment to analyze this phenomenon.  Why must these new tools ‘kill’ the existing tools in order to be relevant?  Is this just a case of the media, tech bloggers, etc. gone awry with the hype?

Here are a few examples to demonstrate what I’m talking about:

Google Nexus One, Motorola Droid – ‘iPhone killers’
Facebook Titan – ‘Gmail killer’
Google Buzz – ‘Twitter killer’

and an oldie, but goodie: Facebook – ‘MySpace killer’

For a moment, let’s just imagine that you are one of the millions of happy people that are using the latter mentioned platforms.  Do you welcome the thought of your beloved technology, application, etc. being ‘killed’ by a new entrant to the market?  If you’re an iPhone user or developer, do you welcome the idea of that platform being trounced by a competitor? Or how about Gmail users?  Do you welcome the idea that Facebook Titan could roll in and crush Gmail?  In some cases, new entrants enhance the offering that exists and making things better for everyone, but it doesn’t always work that way.

Maybe I’m just growing weary of the constant barrage of new tools that seem to be trying to take down the market leaders that people are happily using currently instead of figuring out ways to incorporate them into their new offering.  On the other hand, I welcome tools that help aggregate the vast volume of information that’s floating around out on the social web.  Google has the potential to provide some real value here if they play nice.  I was encouraged by an article I read this morning on the Salmon Protocol that Google is developing currently that would allow comments to flow in real time between the original source out to aggregators, thereby reducing redundant data and allowing a more seamless experience for users.  Right on!  That sounds like a step in the right direction.  I’d love to see more of this kind of improvements to the social graph for everyone.

The reality is that companies don’t always have to kill off a ‘competitor’ to be successful, but they do have to offer something of value that doesn’t exist already.  It’s not enough to just build a ‘me-too’ app and pressure people into using it.  Frankly, that’s what Google Buzz felt like to many people due to the way it was released.  Looking back at some old rivalries such as Microsoft vs. Apple, which has been going on for decades, history teaches us that there is room for multiple profitable players in the market.  In fact, competition is the main driver of progress, so let’s celebrate this competitive spirit!

Think about it – do we really want any of the tools or applications that we use today to be killed off by a big monolithic corporation?  Personally, I like my iPhone, I like Facebook, I like Twitter, and I like MySpace (although I don’t use it as much anymore).  I’ll keep an open mind about any new technology, but I’m much more apt to be receptive if the new tools help me with the volume of social data I’m already processing and not try to pry me away onto another platform or service or abandon the tools that are working for me today.

What do you think?  Is this just media hype or are there underlying motives behind some of these moves?


photo credit: iStock Photo

Parents on Facebook – too far?

For some time now, I’ve thought that having parents as ‘friends’ on social networks was a recipe for trouble.  This has been reinforced recently as I’ve spoken to several friends and acquaintances that have shared similar stories to my own (unsolicited, I might add).  It goes something like this: “Now that my mom is on Facebook, I have to watch what I say in my status updates and monitor my wall more carefully for friends posting things I wouldn’t want her to see.”  I have found myself second-guessing what I post in my status updates now that my mom, aunt, family friends, etc. have joined Facebook and friended me.  I remember how awkward it felt when I got the friend request from mom – I debated whether to accept it or ignore it?  My cousins were friends with my mom – did that mean I was obligated to accept?  For the record, I’m friends with my mom in real life, so this isn’t some generational rebellion story.  However, I still have the mentality that there are certain things that I just don’t feel like sharing in detail with my parents.  Isn’t this typical for most people?  Aren’t some things best kept between friends?

What does this mean for Facebook?  I believe it opens the door even wider for another network/social application to sprout up and lure the ‘younger crowd’ away.  Forget about my generation (GenX), the younger Millennials are ripe for the picking, right now.  They flocked to Facebook early on and there was a sense that it was ‘their place’ – as opposed to MySpace that had become the ‘older crowd.’  Interestingly, now MySpace is seen in some circles as the ‘young crowd’ again.  So what happens next?  Will the rapid expansion of users on Facebook be its undoing?  Perhaps in the U.S., but it’s more likely that the demographics will just shift and the site will continue to thrive.  Lest we forget, Friendster was ‘dead’ in the U.S. long ago, yet continued to have explosive growth in Asia for years after the U.S. users moved on.  Maybe a more plausible scenario is that Facebook continues to infiltrate into the mainstream, while other niche networks pop up and chip off segments of their user base.

I’ll even go so far as to suggest that MySpace could reinvent itself and peel off some of the users that have migrated to Facebook over the last couple of years, or at the least become the network of choice for Millennials once again.  MySpace has killer entertainment content (Music, Video, Games, etc) – much better and more robust than Facebook, which is appealing to a younger audience.  I think it’s entirely possible for MySpace to right the ship, so to speak.  It would require a significant overhaul to clean up its image as a porn spam infested online playground, but stranger things have happened.   Highly unlikely, but possible.

Mobile access will clearly be a defining factor for the ‘next Facebook.’  Perhaps the next mass migration will be to a mobile-only network or at least one that is designed primarily for mobile devices.  Sharing quick snippets of text, video and pictures will continue to be key drivers of interest in these applications, and perhaps simplicity will be key to the success for ‘the next big thing.’  I recently installed foursquare on my iPhone, and I can see potential in this kind of application for people to stay in touch with each other and share info about what they are up to.  I can say with almost 100% certainty that my parents won’t be on foursquare at any time in the foreseeable future.  There’s something comforting in that for me.

I’m curious to hear other thoughts on what parents on Facebook means to you.  Do you think it will push the younger crowd away?  There are some signs this is already happening, but how far might it go?  Whatever your personal preference, it’s definitely something we should all keep an eye out for.

Remember MySpace?

With all the hype around Facebook, it’s easy to forget that MySpace is still a major player in social networking.  I’ve written on this topic before, but I thought it might be good to have a quick refresher on the subject.  I ran across an article earlier that describes how Timberland launched a new initiative using MySpace to reach out to 18-34 men by aligning the brand with a popular ‘sports rapper’ – check out the article here.  I was particularly drawn to the quote about MySpace not getting the credit it deserves.  I share that sentiment and continue to encourage our clients to explore opportunities on MySpace.  Last month, we launched a MySpace program for Zoo Atlanta, and there has been an incredible amount of engagement just one month into the program.

Earlier this morning, I went onto the site to see if the new David Archuleta album was available on MySpace Music yet (yes, I admit it – I like the kid’s voice), and although the whole album is not available to stream on the site yet, what stuck out to me was the volume of comments on his MySpace page.  All of the visible comments are from today only and the page has over 45,000 comments total!  Granted, he almost won American Idol and his album came out yesterday, but the point is that there is still a huge contingent of people who are active MySpace users despite the explosive growth of Facebook.  This is especially true when music is factored into the equation.  I have yet to discover a new band on Facebook, but on MySpace it happens all the time.

Keep this in mind as you are planning your social media initiatives for 2009.  I wouldn’t leave any stone left unturned.  Some opportunities for engagement are just too important to pass up.

MySpace Launches Self-Serve Advertising

After years of neglecting a huge opportunity to monetize the small business segment on MySpace, it appears that they have finally figured it out.  MySpace launched a new Self-Serve Advertising program that’s currently in beta.  The service allows businesses and musicians to develop their own ads and target specific groups on the site.  Facebook has had a similar program for a while now, and although the targeting works differently, they are similar in that they provide small business an opportunity to advertise on the site.  

Previously, only advertisers with deep pockets could play in the MySpace sandbox, so hundreds of thousands of businesses did the next best thing – they created their own free profile for their business and grew them organically.  This new program is a sign that MySpace finally figured out that they couldn’t really stop this practice, and they might as well try to make money from it. 

We will be testing this new ad system for our clients in the coming weeks to see how effective it is.  Stay tuned.