Social networks beyond networking

It’s a fact that we spend a considerable amount of time in social networking sites like Facebook. In a recent study done in early 2011, it was revealed that a person in US spends an average time of 8 hours per month in Facebook, which though looks quite insignificant in terms of numbers (only around 1% of the total time), but what is interesting is that in August’ 2010 the same figure was 6 hours per month. Hence, the rate of increase is quite aggressive – a jump of more than 30% in a span of 6 months. The predictions are that this number will have an increasing trend. Most of us at least access Facebook once a day and have a glance of the new posts, notifications, messages – isn’t it ?

But still the majority of the activities are still limited to networking activities – with a fraction of the time spent on playing online games accessing through Facebook. It is still limited to connecting with family and friends through messaging, sharing of pictures and videos.

What has struck me is the lack of the use of this network for buying products as consumers. People who know me through Facebook can easily arrive at a conclusion that I am a big fan of Barcelona football club, Messi and Sachin Tendulkar. This interpretation is quite obvious. Hence, if somebody (can be a corporate organisation) approaches me with fantastic offers of say DVDs of Messi, centuries of Sachin, I will be more than interested in procuring the same. But the problem is that as of today, no one has approached me with that kind of offer :-)

What I am therefore hinting is that social networks have the huge potential to extend themselves to do “business” with consumers using profile-specific likings to target at products and services that might interest the individuals. Maybe, we would require text based heuristics and algorithms to be developed which will capture the key words of an individual posts and try to develop a profile to arrive at his / her likings. And, we all know that likings will be changing as we go along – the needs of a bachelor might be different once that person gets married :-) Come on, don’t jump to conclusions guys ! Basically, we would need self-adapting neural networking logic that will continue to start adjusting on the profiles being created through text based heuristics and algorithms.

Will this be the next maturity phase of social networks ?

PS > Very recently, saw an announcement of Facebook “agreement” with EBay, wherein retailers can come up with their products based on likings of individuals to usher in social-commerce. This was tried earlier with ventures with Delta and other corporations, but the success was quite limited. Only time will tell whether this EBay integration with Facebook will be successful….

Posted with WordPress for BlackBerry.

2 thoughts on “Social networks beyond networking

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  1. FB is, infact, doing another kind of advertisement. It is also brilliant in another way – it talks about advertising without taking money from the advertisers!! The FB page concept is nothing but that. There is an interesting article on this on my FB page.

    Regarding the neural network logic to segment & categorize users and then target them for advertisements – I think this is an eventuality. Even if it is not a self adapting type, it can at least generate a database based on word strings used, number of hits on some specific pages et al.

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