Social Networking and Consumer Generated Media technologies are relatively new areas. Some elements have only been around for a couple of years. Why is it that we are hearing so much about them now and why do I think that 2007 is the year these will become more mainstream in business?
In part the buzz comes from a lot of the information and news reports about the creation of our next set of multi-millionaires and some billionaires who created a business for next to nothing, created communities of lots of users, and eventually sold their companies for hundreds of millions of dollars. I’m talking about companies like Myspace, YouTube, and Skype. These are Social Network sites with some like Myspace and YouTube predominately based on Consumer Generated Media.
Additionally, creating and distributing media used to be complicated and expensive. No longer the case; anyone with a multi-media computer (and who doesn’t have one of those), a camera, and some software can easily create and edit content and upload it to some site so that it is accessible to millions of viewers if they know where to find it. In some cases, like news, the major news outlets are making it easy for people to get credit and payment for pictures, videos and stories that they create. For example, CNNhas a section on their website called i-Report specifically for CGM. Also, if you followed the big story today of the Malibu CA fires, the major networks like CNN, NBC and CNBC were all using still photos and video that was shot by users not their professional staffs.
So, if creation is no longer a problem, the next issue is getting it published and being found. Again, this used to be a problem, but not any more. RSS and a myriad of aggregators, blogging tools and feed readers solve the publishing problem for both the creator and the reader/listener/viewer. Additionally, these tools provide the syndication capability that allows end users to subscribe to content and then have it delivered on a continuing basis. If you want to listen to presentations on a number of subjects, you can subscribe to thousands of podcasts via Apple’s iTunes site.
What I believe will be happening during 2007 is that businesses are now beginning to understand how to use Social Networks and CGM to their advantage and create sites to facilitate their use. Consequently, we should see more tools come out especially ones that combine a number of capabilities and allow them to look customized to a specific company without significant development dollars being spent.
Has anyone joined a new type of social network or had their content published by a non-traditional publisher?