I came across this interesting article in ReadWriteWeb that discusses how the enterprise has not yet quite dived head first into virtual worlds, even though it has been around since 1995. Virtual worlds are different because it recreates social interaction found in real-life in a digital space. While the benefits of using it within teams are clear (social networking, real-time collaboration, & interactive training) what are some ways that we can use virtual worlds to aid customers? Will this be something more and more companies will take a look at in the future?
I came across this post from Adam Ostrow on Mashable in which he highlights some new social features that YouTube has recently added. If you haven’t noticed yet when you login to YouTube you can now view activities like commenting, favoriting, and information on uploading videos from your friends. It’s taken a while for YouTube to get on board with this, but glad they have!
Recently, Corey Wynsma posted a few tips on how to maximize the use of Twitter. Although the tips focused on newsroom use, I think the points are valid for any company starting to use Twitter as a new source of reaching their target crowd.
1) Forget about Twitter ROI
It’s not about making money, but adapting to the new culture shift that lies ahead.
2) Twitter isn’t a broadcast channel
It’s about conversation. Don’t just post the latest news, create a way for your followers to have a conversation.
3) Climb down off the pedestal
Approach Twitter carefully. You don’t know what exactly you’ll receive in return for your efforts, so hang back and jump in with two feet and an open mind.
4) Don’t rely upon a single branded Twitter experience
Connect with people in your community. Find a way to make people interact with your users and experience available for everyone to comment.
5) Find Twitters and their niches
Use your strength and expertise to reach out to other Twitter groups. Use what you have to build your community.
6) Help your twitters take ownership of their efforts
Provide your followers badges and logos to share your group.
7) Make twittering easy
Make sure your followers know they can Twitter from anywhere, promoting the different apps that allow them to comment through their mobile phones.
8) Gain followers that count
Thing quality not quantity. Allow your group to grow with members who are genuinely interested and can contribute to your conversation.
There are more points to the list. Read them here. Is Twitter a valuable source for your company? How have you gained your followers?
I was combing through the Internet in search of future trends for online communities when I came across this article. According to the author, Jim Tobin, social media is still in the early stages of development. While some may disagree with him, here are his views on where the evolution of social media could lead.
- Ratings will become an expectation
- Content aggregation will boom
- New tools will replace some of the first movers
- Social Networks become portable
- Virtual worlds gain traction
What are your opinions on which growth stage social media is in? Do you still believe that it is in its fledgling stage? Also what do you think are trends that will catch on for the future of this industry?
Google has entered into a new domain, virtual reality, despite what some would say is heavy competition already in place. Lively is the latest offering in Google Labs. It is a product of Niniane Wang’s, an engineering manager, 20% time project. Her reason for this latest creation, as citied in this article from eWeek.com, is:
“A while ago, I looked around the social Web and wished that it could be less static. Sure, you can leave a comment on a blog or write a text blurb on your social networking profile. But what if you want to express yourself in a more fun way, with 3D graphics and real-time avatar interactions?”
Features of the new app are that it runs solely through a browser using a Google account. Similar to other apps of its type, users create their own avatars, and the rooms can be customized to feature TV’s displaying YouTube clips, and photos on the wall. Another article, from ReadWriteWeb, noted that that a difference between Lively and Second Life is that:
Google’s idea seems to be less to create one large virtual world, but to give publishers an opportunity to create their own small virtual world for their readers and visitors.
While Google does have an impressive track record with their product launches from Google Labs, as Brad Stone from the New York Times pointed out in his review of Lively,
Google’s success is not assured, of course. Other test products it has introduced have languished, like Product Search, originally known as Froogle.
Despite heavy competition already in place from heavyweights such as Second Life, do you think that Google and the strength of the brand will prevail?
I came across this blog post today discussing the differences between the business styles of Reddit, Digg, and Stumble Upon. The author’s viewpoint is that Reddit has the best take on how to appeal to consumers while still earning revenue. Here is a summary on the pros and cons of each of the ‘social news’ websites.
The main benefit is that there are no editors, and the importance of content is voted on by masses. This helps viewers sift through the enormous amount of information that is available on the web, while being able to skip over news items that are more obscure and not relevant. The main complaint is that since the Digg community has grown so large, more and more content is being fed in and voted on by a larger audience. This leads to a problem with the front page content as stated by the author if it is not ‘viewed by someone within the first 75 minutes, 2 in 3 readers wont see it, and if no one sees the story in the first 3 hours, almost no one will see the story.’
The benefit is that it is non-invasive. After signing up on their main web-page, there is no need to go back there. You simply download a toolbar and search for information that you are interested in. The main complaint is not on the users behalf but instead, because it is so user friendly that individuals don’t have to return to the site, as the author of the blog post states ‘it is very hard to monetize the system based on current (ad based) business models’.
For Reddit the positive is that it is a mix of both StumbleUpon and Digg. Like StumbleUpon, they have a toolbar so you don’t have to constantly be on the site. Also the have a new feature that in the words of the author is a ‘module at the top that rotates between some of the stories from the upcoming section, allowing you to vote on them directly from the front page’ The con is that some find the new features hard to read and confusing. Also some feel that this is still putting the focus on how to generate revenue instead of placing utmost importance on user benefits.
Which business model do you feel provides the most value to consumers while still remaining profitable? Also what is your take on the evolution of Social News sites?