Webby Winners- Social Networking Class – Reviewed

This contest spans nations and industries, awarding the best use of digital to the deserving. Under the section of ‘Social Networking’ the following winners have been announced:


Webby Award Winner Agency/Credited Organization
People’s Voice Winner
BakeSpace Inc
Unigo / Deepend New York / GotCoders

Digg – No introductions needed for this. Kevin Rose and co GET social bookmarking. Started as an experiment in 2004 and now has 27million unique users. not sure why it has won this year? Possibly in recognition of its newly released ‘Digg Bar’.

Bakespace – What it says on the URL- a hub for recipies and general food conversation. Includes a ‘mentors’ feature for advice as well as the usual forums, blogs and other web 2.0 stuff.

Birdpost – I’m going to tell my dad about this one. He’s a twitcher, and I don’t mean that with any dis-respect. This is one of those rare things- a website derived from a real need/demand. Bird watchers can utilse Goggle Maps to geotag sightings as well as to search for other user’s sightings. It allows users to create online lists and share – all thats good about social networking, sharing shared interests.

Also available as an i-phone app. Which is good.

Flock – The social web browser. Powered by Mozilla Firefox, this browser allows you to aggregate your online friends in one neat place. sounds like a great idea but I downloaded this last year and found that I never really used it. Maybe I just didn’t get it…otherwise it wouldn’t have been nominated for a Webby this and won one last year (2008)?

Unigo – College Reviews By College Students. In America. So gets a big fat ‘n/a’. Looks good though for when it does eventually cross the pond.
social media blog

5 OTHER Social Networks

Facebook? Meh. Twitter? Ok doing well at the moment. Linked In?

But what about the other social networks out there? Sure anyone can start a social network by using Ning but there are some alternatives out there that you may want to consider. They tend to cater for niche users but hey, Facebook was a just meant to be a niche network for US college students!

There are so many out there but the following five are of particular note…

Sagazone www.sagazone.co.uk/

Social networking for the over 50’s.

Sagazone is a social network for those of a more experienced age, created by Saga. The site is very easy to use and instructions and site information are provided in a simple yet non-patronising way. Anyway, simple is as usability does.

The network provides forums, media sharing, instant chat, blogs and ‘clubs’ allowing silver surfers to connect online.

Tangle www.tangle.com/

Half Youtube (was formerly called Godtube), half Facebook this social network is centered around video and photo uploads yet has a community feel. The site seems to have the balance just right in combining a sense of fun with more serious, religious undertones. This ‘God’ side of things is factored in through the ‘Prayer Wall’ and the ‘Virtual Bible’. The virtual bible in particular allows users to even select which version of the bible they want to read and search for verses, titles or particular passages. I’m not hugely religious but if I were then i’d be straight on this site!

Now this is social networking for fans of animals (well of the pet variety). Sign up and get involved in forum discussions, view pets or you can even enter your pet in to ‘Pet Idol’! There is a section hosted by a Vet called Catherine with downloadable advice sheets. A handy events section allows for pet owners to view upcoming courses, shows and competitions.

A lot of the information on Petstreet is available to non-members. They may do better to make some of this info member only to improve uptake and retention.

May Contain Nuts www.maycontainnuts.com/

Awesome dude! Bodacious! And other such 90’s pseudo surf phrases….
This, liek the other sites has its own, very specific niche target user group or extreme sports enthusiasts. If you consider the number of viral videos that go round featuring extreme stunts then you can appreciate how there is a demand for a dedicated social network.

Users tag their profiles depending on the sports they are interested in making it it easy to find fellow enthusiasts. The site has an inherently young feel to it as you would expect for this subject matter with a lot of UK users.

Wiser Earth is a project of the Natural Capital Institute and aims to create a community connecting the people, nonprofits and businesses working toward a just and sustainable world”. It allows people to share ideas, form groups and promote their own smaller projects for saving the earth.

So there you go, its not all about Facebook, Twitter and Myspace etc. There are a huge number of really useful social networks out there.

social media blog

Has Second Life become reality?

You know who your friends are and most people can count the number of their ‘real’ friends on one hand. It used to be so simple; you had a group of friends and that was it. You spoke to them on the phone, you met them in town or went round their house to play Mario Kart on a Saturday morning (ok that still happens). If you didn’t want to see someone, you didn’t. If your lives went down a different path then you lost touch unless your friendshop was strong enough to last. Survival of the fittest. You’d meet new friends along the way and so went the cycle of friendship.

NOW… I have old friends, new friends, auld enemies, weirdo’s I never spoke to, work colleagues past and present, relatives and even my parents friends all on Facebook. Then there are my aquaintances on Twitter and the old school Myspace crowd.
So does that mean I have a second life? A secret life? Are friends, like products, becoming niche items. Things to be compartmentalised and kept separate, only to be called upon when a specific need is required. I use Twitter mainly for networking but Myspace to yell about what my band are up to. I’m friends with people on Facebook who made my life hell as a kid and I thought i’d seen the back of – only for them to appear in the god dam ‘People You Might Know’ area…
The other side of the story is that this segmentation of friends helps get the most out out existing relationships and find new ones.
One things for sure…keep your social networking friends close, but your social networking enemies closer! You never know what they’re saying about you.
social media blog

Attempt at Social Media Tracking

Research company YouGov have just announced their intention to investigate the actual usage of social media networks. They propose to interview over 2000 users to discover the most used networks, how often these are used and test participant’s reactions to various adverts. See my article on Social Media Measurement.

The aim it appears, is to learn how best to make money out of the unsuspecting public. How to make money in the short term with clickable ads ‘Google’ style, and in the long term through increasing brand engagement and two way communication. Clickable ads equals bad idea. Social network users are generally of a demographic that is educated (to some level) and not ignorant when it comes to being advertised at. Research may say that users don’t mind the ad’s, but there will be a limit before. David Lucas, head of media consulting for YouGov, said, “The next challenge for these websites is to find a way to take advantage of their audience and make money from their product. Appealing to advertisers is an obvious route, but finding the best way to engage with those using this channel needs further consideration.”take advantage of their audience…people don’t like to be taken advantage of I’m afraid chaps. Be careful.

If companies really want to benefit from brand engagement through social networking, they may want to think about other, more subtle ways of financing Facebook et al.

Read further at NMA

social media blog

New Media Predictions For 2009

Well the gloves are off with each and every blog, site and column vying for the position of the most novel/innovative/incisive prediction for 2009.

This is difficult with any industry but the dynamic and ever changing nature of digital marketing makes it difficult to predict what will happen next week, let alone in several months time. It’s not just about predicting what will happen and what new things may appear its more about what will become highly relevant to people inside and outside of the industry. The shifting paradigm is from companies testing the water with certain areas (social networking), to them actually implementing results driven socnet campaigns with analytics and profitable ROI’s.

Anyhoo, it seems that lists are the standard format for predictions so here we are:

1) Dynamic ad insertion to computer games – on the brink of happening and being tested in the new Sims games where there is a poster for the latest Indiana Jones film as you walk down the virtual street. Or it could even be in Fifa 09 where the football stadiums have real advertising on the hoardings surrounding the pitch. Dynamic in that can be constantly updated with more and more video game consoles being connected to internet servers (eg x box live)

2) Mobile TV (and so ads) through BBC iplayer etc via iphones as iphone ownership proliferates.

3) Natural product placement within online social environments. Bebo is playing host to an increasing number of corporate led initiatives such as shows ‘Kate Modern‘. These shows may be sponsored by brands overtly or covertly but this is set to increase in 2009.

4) Predictions aren’t just about about ‘in with the new’, they also concern ‘out with the old’ – With the hundreds of niche products available (Twitter, Friendfeed, Flock) etc) we are probably set for a mini dot com bubble burst. In the loan friendly economic environment of the 00’s new start ups have gain the support of venture capitalists with relative ease. This support may be set to wane with the doom mongering and credit crunch. Therefore 2009 is to be a year where we develop, embrace and exploit the exisiting rather than constantly searching for the new.

Failure to commit Facebook suicide

The walls are closing in, the pressure’s getting too much…Get me out of here! Facebook’s just a website, right? I’ve closed down e-mail addresses and changed my phone number before so how hard can it be to unregister from a social networking site.

IMPOSSIBLE! Thats what it is. Just like my send phobia (constant reading emails over and over again before sending), I couldn’t bring myself to do it. The only people I have any real contact with on Facebook are my ‘real life’ friends anyway so who cares about the others. It’s more than that through. It is a name that has become so intrinsically linked to daily life that to not have a Facebook account would be like not having a head. Well not quite but you get the idea.

We go and watch a band and where do we look and laugh at the photos the next day? Facebook. Arranging a Stag Do? Send the invites out on Facebook. Without Facebook I would not be able to air my innermost thoughts and feelings concerning what I had for dinner via my status page.

Verdict: I will keep my Facebook to continue it’s use as a social tool and calendar but I willl try to avoid plunging in to the deep depths of Facebookism that involves staring for hours at photos of people you don’t know doing things you’d never do with people that you only vaguely know.

Right i’m off to check my Facebook…..doh!