Who"s davidlian?

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davidlian is an ultra-geeky chinese dude that works for a technology PR agency. He loves fiddling with techno-toys, plays Warhammer 40K, and shoots pictures wherever he goes. Here, he rants about PR, Technology and anything else. Don't expect balance and un-biased, he ain't no journalist. Anything said on this blog are solely davidlian's personal views. Don't confuse them with company mantra, client's views or views of any organisation he may be part of.


Sunday, January 13, 2008

Obligatory Social Networking Prediction

This post is inspired by this story over at Rolling Stone.

In the past three years or so, there's been a real explosion on the internet by what we now call the Web 2.0 phenomenon or the "social networking" boom. If Web 1.0 was based around email and static home pages, then the introduction of blogs, social networks and content-sharing sites is what characterises Web 2.0. The internet has moved from being centred around information to people.

Let's turn Web 2.0 into a mathematical exercise: have a meagre 200 odd friends on Facebook, just over a hundred on Friendster and an empty Linked-in account I never use much. I have a blog that has ... oh, about 6 or so readers... and a Flickr account with 5 friends. I think there's an old Plaxo login I have somewhere and I'm member to more than a few web-forums around the internet. I've got an MSN list that tells me 32 of my 147 contacts are online now.

That's my imprint on the internet.

I'm sure there's way more people who have a far larger pool of fans (I once surfed a friend's page on Friendster who had actually reached the limit of 1,000 friends, so she had to create two new accounts to store new friends. Maybe coz she's oklah hot).

The point is, all this talk of Web 2.0 means the currency today is people. I hear internet marketing firms talking of calculating "reach" instead of traffic. "Audience" instead of hits. And I'm wondering out loud if in this age of ultra-networkability and -trackability, could we actually measure how influential a person is?

If yes, we could, just by using the internet, then Barack Obama (my candidate of choice, actually) would win hands down this next US election thanks to his more than 500 facebook supporter groups. But it isn't so simple, is it?

Influence is more thant the internet, and definitely more than the number of friends you have on your facebook account. You don't influence people by sending them "Vote for this cause" requests. They'll probably click it without batting an eyelash, or just click delete.


I now dread logging into Facebook and it's even spread so far that I dread logging into my Gmail. Because my Facebook thread is now filled with millions (I guess) of requests for inane Facebook apps and my Gmail gets filled too with Superwall messages and Funwall stuff. I have 79 undrunk drinks. t's not that I'm anti-social, mind you, but simply because there's overwhelming interactivity with people. I dread that the first 10 clicks I do when I log into Gmail is to delete BACN (stuff that's not spam (like Facebook auto-messages, but of little use anyway).

How long more can people still be into Social Networks, I wonder?

After some thinking, I think for a long, long, long more time. Whoever said human beings are social creatures was right - we want to feel valued, loved and paid attention. We want to have friends.

But, Social Networks will start to change (and indeed, they already are) simply because no one needs to be weighed down by 1,223 contacts pinging them with Fight Club challenges all the time.

Remember the Rolling Stones link right at the beginning of this post? That's what I think will be social networking in the future. The key word is Purpose.

Why? Because I don't care to be punching some elses zombies all day. I want to find a person because there's some relevance in that person to me: either he's a friend I met somewhere, or he likes the same miniatures I like or we both believe in Barack Obama. I want to connect with somebody for a purpose --> it's email when it's "Hey XXX, can we go for a drink sometime?" or it's a MSN ping when its "Hey, tonight wanna go and play Warhammer?"

Don't get me wrong, sometimes, just making a new friend or enjoying one another's company is purpose enough. That's why Facebook and Friendster are still going to be around. What I do feel though is we can do without the "too-many" - bite me (vampire) requests.

For social marketing and PR peeps: when Social networks grow to become purposeful, then the audience becomes real. Social networks don't just become a click-fest . Shapeable, identifiable, targetable, and logical networks will emerge. The social network will make more sense to marketeers than right now. Your ROI headache will go away.


Yuen-Chi Lian said...

Great, I was on similar discussion with friends last night, and all these while I have been thinking about the new forms of blogging and social networking.

Social networking will turn real. It has been quite real now (that you can create an event and get people RSVP and appear at a place) but it will be more integrated with our real life and devices around us.

Linus Linnaeus said...

i still believe in good old..."hey friend, let's go out for a cuppa yea?" will call you soon for a drink david....btw...check out my new blogpost on hmm...should i say enjoying pain? :P

SlowCatchUpKuan said...

my facebook and friendster account is kinda of history by now. i got migraine looking at all the crap requests and messages from friends and ppl i do not know. LOL

davidlian said...

YC: Yes, social networking is going mobile.

Linus: Yes, oldskool is still in. :)

Kuan: Overwhelming and nonsensical requests is why I believe that the current form of facebook / myspace will start to lose traction.