Posts Tagged ‘Social networking’

Social networking in the enterprise will be tough to pull off

Tuesday, April 22nd, 2008

I am a couple of days behind on this story; I am just reading about Forrester Research’s report on the growth of enterprise spending on Web 2.0 technologies. According to the report:

“Enterprise spending on Web 2.0 technologies will grow strongly over the next five years, reaching $4.6 billion globally by 2013, with social networking, mashups, and RSS capturing the greatest share.”

2.0It’s interesting that social networking is going to be the area of biggest spending for enterprises in the next five years. But this raises a red flag for me. Having worked at big media companies that have the largest technology companies as their clients, I have watched a lot of enterprises (at least in the technology space) try to implement the latest and greatest technologies somewhat unsuccessfully. And I am incredibly skeptical that enterprises are going to be able to successfully implement social networking into their sites.

One of the main factors for social networking to be successful is a big community and affinity – and I’m not sure that the majority of enterprises have the audience to foster a strong social network.

But with that skepticism said, I think that it’s really great that enterprises are going to be trying to implement this stuff. Some of them will undoubtedly be wildly successful, pushing Web 2.0 technologies to get better and bigger and more scalable.

Photo by fffriendly

MySpace vs. iTunes

Friday, April 4th, 2008

My most recent article for The Industry Standard just went up – How MySpace Music could beat iTunes. If you’re interested, please give it a read!

The music industry is something that I’m really thinking about lately with the launch of Fat J Records and signing Cara Austin – so the recent news about iTunes overtaking Wal-Mart and MySpace Music’s launch are both of great interest to me. And there are a lot of things about the MySpace vs. iTunes topic that I didn’t have space to include in my article for The Standard. So I thought I would just list them here, kind-of stream-of-thought.

MySpace logoMySpace Music can beat iTunes by supporting musicians. This is the premise of the article that I wrote for The Standard. Basically, I think that if MySpace Music provides data about the fans that purchase music, ticket and merchandise to the musicians, it can beat iTunes. Go read the article for the whole argument.

CDBaby is a model of how MySpace Music could work. CDBaby is an unbelievable music retailer that caters only to independent artists. And this is what its privacy policy says (these points are directed at buyers who visit the site):

“Only the musician whose music you buy will know who you are. If you don’t even want the musician to know about you, just say so at the bottom of your order form.”

I use CDBaby to sell CDs for Cara Austin, and so far, NOT ONE person has requested that CDBaby withhold their contact information. This is because people who go so far as to buy a CD are usually fans – and they don’t mind the band or artist being able to contact them again in the future.  According to the company’s Website, CDBaby has sold 4,202,465 CDs to customers resulting in $71,482,212 paid directly to the artists.

iTunes is a store, MySpace is a community. I read this quote from someone involved in the deal, and this is a really important point. While there are millions of people who buy music from iTunes, the MySpace community that uses MySpace to discover new artists and read about what they are up to, will be a powerful environment for making a purchase. With the possibility of revenue coming from MySpace, artists will do even more to make sure that their pages are attractive, interesting and compelling. And the community of music on that site is going to get stronger and stronger. Imagine 5 million musicians adding content, video, new songs and new song versions – this is going to be incredibly powerful and impossible for iTunes to rival.

Facebook’s chance to win in this space is shrinking by the minute. Facebook is gaining on MySpace in the social networking space, but Facebook’s support of music is, well, pathetic. They are going to have one shot to try to release a music platform that users will like (and use) but it’s not looking good. With MySpace’s announcement of the support of three of the four major labels, one possibility is that Facebook already has the support of the fourth (but that is highly unlikely and just speculative on my part).

International will be huge. I read that MySpace Music isn’t going to be able to distribute music internationally yet. What? What is the licensing issue with that? My suggestion – sign up all the indies asap and start selling to Japan, England, Australia, and everywhere else that has an appetite for U.S. music immediately – or else that could be a place that MySpace Music will be vulnerable.

DRM free matters, but won’t be the thing that wins it for MySpace. As part of the announcement, MySpace announced that they music that is sold from its music store will be DRM-free. (DRM=Digital Rights Management, it is the protection that Apple places on its files that prevents people from being able to share them.) This is a big deal, but not the biggest, as this will just (finally) compel Apple to follow suit with iTunes.

There is still a perception issue that could cause MySpace some serious problems. MySpace has kind of a seedy image. The site’s design is fairly unattractive, and it’s hard to navigate the social network without running into something that borders on pornography or spam. The company is going to have to do battle against that perception to win back people who have become disillusioned by previous negative experiences with MySpace.

Can Apple prevent iPods from using this service? Technically, I’m not sure if there is a way for Apple to limit the sites from which the iPod can download music, but if users are unable to load music from MySpace Music to their iPods, that would be a serious setback to MySpace. It also would likely cause a revolt among iPod users against Apple, but it would still be a hiccup in the acceptance of the service.

What is Twitter?

Thursday, March 6th, 2008

I have been wanting to write about Twitter for quite awhile, to try to explain it to all the (many, many) people who I know who don’t use it (and probably haven’t even heard of it), but now I don’t have to thanks to this video by Common Craft.

If you want to know what Twitter is, watch the video. You still won’t really get it until you join, but at least you’ll have more of an idea as to why people sign up.

I currently use Twitter to find out what’s going on in the industry. I would like to use it to follow friends and business partners, but when I initially checked to find out who in my address book was on Twitter, only one person showed up.

Of course, I have “met” many other people through Twitter, and I am able to follow many of my favorite bloggers who use the service. I also find that Twitter is a great way to stay informed when something big is going on, or when I want to find out specific information about a city I am visiting, or if I need to get feedback about a story that I’m working on. But it would be really cool if I actually knew people who used the service.

I kind of doubt that is going to happen anytime soon.

But if you read my blog and use Twitter, add me and I’ll follow you! @mchang16

And if you don’t know what the @ symbol means, don’t worry – you’ll catch on!

Google does care about your privacy. Really. There are videos to prove it.

Thursday, December 20th, 2007

Just saw this item about a new video series that helps Google users who are concerned about their privacy. “The Google Privacy Channel” on YouTube offer various hints about things like:

and my favorite:

  • The Google bloopers reel, which shows the usually-smart and frequently-rich Googlers making mistakes and looking occasionally awkward. (see below)

The Google privacy debate is ongoing, but these videos are timely considering recent objections and concerns about new social networking features that are being added to Google Reader, Gmail and Google Chat.

Incidentally, the most popular videos (according to the number of people who have viewed them so far) are about the following topics:

  1. Unsubscribing your phone number (2,089)
  2. Using Picasa (1,892)
  3. Removing images from Street View (661)
  4. Controlling your history settings (400)
  5. Managing your Google calendar’s share settings (322)

Here’s that Google blooper’s video for your viewing pleasure:

Facebook is now valued at $15 billion

Wednesday, October 24th, 2007

Facebook logoI was talking to some 30-something, non-tech-industry friends last week, and the topic turned to Facebook. What’s the deal with Facebook? they asked. None of them had profiles, none of them had ever even visited the site, all of them thought I was nuts for having set up a profile. “You mean you put it online that you live in Massachusetts?!” they asked. I tried to explain that Facebook is huge (as is the state of Massachusetts). They didn’t buy it.

“Today Microsoft agreed to invest $240 million for a 1.6% stake in Facebook that values the social-networking site at $15 billion, beating Google in a closely watched contest.”Friends, Facebook is worth $15 BILLION dollars. I am not the only one who uses the site.