Four Trends in Social Media

E.B. Boyd of our sister blog BayNewser is reporting this week from the Digital Media Conference West in San Francisco. In this post she covers the “What’s Next in Social Media” panel that looked at current and coming trends.

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1. The social media context is good for selling some things but not others

“There are certain categories that are going to do very well. …The analogy that we’ve finally come up with is to think about social networks much like the digital representation of things we do in our lives. So if you’re out to lunch with a friend, or you go to a dinner party, or you’re walking down the street… is that really where you might want to be buying insurance? Probably not. But if your friend told you about some great bottle of wine, that’s a pretty good moment [for making that sale].”

— Jeremy Toeman, Managing Partner, Stage Two Consulting

2. Look to gaming for clues about how to get people to pay for things online

“If you think about the Internet so far, it basically has two business models: e-commerce, with physical fulfillment, and advertising…. We see [gaming] as the tip of the spear of a transformation in how people interact online, how people get acclimated over time, behaviorally, to buy things….”

— Michael Trigg, Vice President, Marketing & Business Development, hi5 (One of the largest social networks in the world, most popular outside the United States)

3. Think carefully about products and ads for the phone

“[The mobile phone] is a such a personal device that interruption through content that is not relevant is a huge problem. …So in trying to build services, we need to have a really graceful interaction and do it right to start with, not blunder around because this is the one place where people are going to shut us down.”

— Elizabeth Churchill, Principal Research Scientist, Yahoo! Research

4. Give the content away for free but charge for things that make the experience more fun

“We have been trying everything we can think of, but we don’t like ads, so instead of creating a business model around ads, we are trying to make the listening experience more fun. For example, we let users send music gifts to their friends and have their personal player skin. So music, the content itself, we provide free, but around the music, we can create a more fun experience, for which we can charge.”

— Allen (Chunlong) Guo, Founder & CEO, Yobo.com (A Chinese online music site)

You can read the full post from BayNewser here, along with other posts from the conference, including:


Five Trends in Online Advertising

Curation is the Next Wave

Craig Newmark: Newspapers Have a Bigger Problem Than Craigslist

Digg to Release New Features in Coming Week (or So)

Has Twitter Jumped the Shark?

So go read them all. But come back later, because I’m making pancakes.