I was ready to push the publish button when my blog editor, Ecto, unexpectedly ate the entire draft. So forgive me if today’s Signal is a bit brief. I lost two hours of work, something that’s never happened. That’ll teach me.
Anyway, allow me to attempt to reconstruct my post. In short, I’ve noticed a definite trend in the stories and links I find interesting lately: our society is starting to have higher order conversations about the implications of our passionate embrace with social media. And this is a Very Good Thing.
I’ve long said that I’m a fan of social networks and media, of course, but I’ve also pointed out that most of it is artless and ingenuous in comparison with the sophistication each of us has when it comes to “being social.” So far, our technologies lack the instrumentation each of us employs when interacting in the simplest social situation. We have the benefit of hundreds of thousands of years of social evolution – not to mention millions of years of biological evolution. Yet as social creatures we flock to technologies that allow us to express that fundamental need, even if it fails to truly reflect our nature.
What’s heartening is how our culture has begun to ask interesting questions about what this all means – for our businesses, as marketers, as citizens, and as individuals. As Danah Boyd states in her opening keynote at SXSW: “ChatRoulette may be a fad, but the idea that publicity and privacy will get mashed up in new ways will not be.”
Tens of millions have flocked to ChatRoulette – and while it may well be a fad, the impulse which sent so many to “only connect” is not. Understanding who we are as private and public beings will be a fundamental component of what it means to be literate in a modern society. And marketers who make a practice of understanding this will succeed over those who do not.
I predict a punctuation mark in this conversation over the coming months, in the form of Facebook’s public data firehose. Expected at their F8 developer conference this June, the Facebook firehose will allow developers to create all sorts of unexpected applications and services which leverage Facebook status updates, wall posts, and more. Twitter should get the credit for pushing this open architecture, but Facebook’s implementation of it will be revelatory – and not necessarily in ways that might be positive. I predict one of the first applications created will be a site publishing Really Stupid Pictures You Probably Should Not Have Posted To Facebook, for example. Cue media frenzy and….well you get the picture.
But far more good can come from an open ecosystem, and over time, our conversation around how we expand what it means to be social will only become more fascinating and, I believe, liberating.
(Video above of “Society” by Jerry Hannon, a pal who lives in Marin, featured in “Into the Wild.)
Onwards to a brief list of links I find worthy today:
Filtering Social Media To Find Signal Out Of Noise (AVC) Fred points us to a portfolio company that sees signal in the noise of social media, at first for financial gain, and next, for marketers.
“Making Sense of Privacy and Publicity” (Danah Boyd) Read this piece!
@anywhere (Twitter blog) Twitter did not announce an ad platform yesterday (nor did I expect them to), but the company did announce a framework for allowing its service to be integrated even more fully into third party sites. This is a good thing and continues to raise the bar on what other social services will have to do.
Confirmed: Marketplace will be the only way to get apps on Windows Phone 7 Series (Engadget) Oh, please, Microsoft, don’t do the same thing Apple is doing. This path will only lead to pain and failure. Please, please, PLEASE don’t do this.
Now A No-Evil Zone (Tim Bray) A noted Internet pioneer chooses Google over Apple for the same reason I’m pleading with Microsoft to not dictate its mobile ecosystem.
Brands Must Become Media to Earn Relevance (Solis). I’ve been saying this for years, good piece. In an age of social media, all brands are publishers, all businesses are media businesses.
State of the Media, By the Numbers (CJR and Pew) Worthy overview of new Pew research.
The future of display advertising (Google blog) Susan Wojcicki, VP Product for Google and one of the originals at the company, kicks off a series on Google’s intentions as it comes to display advertising. Think data, data, data. And come to the CM Summit, where Susan will speak.
If you read FM’s Signal, then you’ll want to come to the CM Summit this June 7-8 in New York City. Join the founders of AdMob, Boxee, Foursquare, and the CEOs of Razorfish, Moxie, GroupM, as well as top execs from Adobe, Google, The New York Times, Starbucks, AT&T and more.
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