The need to centralize a brand in a decentralized world

I’m starting to see this new type of tool and concept emerge as content gets created and distributed into many small and large buckets

Users are creating content, and often uploading, sharing, or producing to a wide variety of sites: social networks, image sites, movie sites, communication tools, blog software, forum software, etc. They are creating and consuming data on mobile devices, home computers and networks, work networks, and in public spaces. For the corporate brand, this means that media, text, voices, and opinions about a company are spread all across the wide web.

Information, data, and profiles are scattered around the web, and on different networks. While one person can be involved in many conversations around the web; tracking and managing them are very difficult as they’re scattered

[The desire to track and centralize data and media created on the disparte web is growing for both individual users and corporate brands. The need for Digital Lifestyle Aggregation rapidly approaches]

A trend of tools are starting to come around, as they centralize all of those data points into one area, or make it easier to find. In many ways, it’s a dynamic blog roll of all ‘my stuff’. Marc Canter describes it in this early post (2004) as

“Navigating the complex worlds of multimedia, on-line content, communications, ecommerce and Home LAN based products is the key to understanding where we’re headed in the future. Enabling customers (both end-users and enterprises) to connect all of these disparate worlds, products and services together is what digital lifestyle aggregation is all about.”

In this definition, digital lifestyle aggregation is described as:

“A digital lifestyle aggregator (DLA) is a computer software application which integrates and centralizes the user control of all of the user’s information and electronic devices, including personal computers, Home LANs, cell phones, digital cameras, videogames, PDAs, and other forms of consumer electronics devices.”

Techcrunch has started to track a few of these players, from Loopster along with Profilactic and ProfileLinker. Sonecast creates a single page of media, using aggregation techniques from disparate buckets.

The future
In many ways, we can expect existing feedreaders like MyYahoo and Google Reader and Facebook to start offering these types of tools. This feature set will become as common as the blogroll (and integrated with it), white label social networks and some solutions will provide password management, yet another form of identity, and yet another reason we need a single trusted form of user ID.

What this means for corporations
First of all, please don’t think you can control your brand, it’s not about that. But you’ll start to need these tools to, track, and centralize one’s brand (and everything associated around it) in a decentralized world. I’ve predicted that the future websites will be community based websites, so aggregating that content in one area helps to make you the first stop for product knowledge.

For further listening listen to this podcast interview between Dan Farber of ZDnet and Marc Canter they discuss the need for open networks, and thinking beyond Google, Yahoo, MS, Apple, and AOL.

Update: be sure to check out Chris’s ideas on Attention Streams, imagine haveing all your data on a single feed.

  • Jeremiah:
    Thanks for mentioning Profilactic. We really appreciate it.

    I think you’re right. We will see some of the bigger players get into this space; however, just like everything else, there will be room for niche sites who offer features or services that the bigger sites don’t.

    We still think content is key for Profilactic (more than identity services like centralized profile updates). Plus, with OpenID becoming a standard, I’d rather focus our efforts in something that will drive repeat visits. We thinking fresh content does that.

    One area that we’re moving into is better friends/contacts management. A lot of aggregators treat all of your contacts the same. They also assume you want to see everything that all of your contacts are doing. We’re getting ready to launch a feature that allows you to pick and choose which feeds from which friends that you care to see.

    So if I like your blog posts and your twitter updates, but not your Flickr photos, I can configure that quickly and easily.

    No matter what, I think it will be interesting to see how the ideas of identity management, content aggregation and managing online social relationships evolve.

    Thanks again for the mention.

  • Great post, Jeremiah. Over at Contentious, knowledge mgmt guru Jack Vinson and I are discussion what a good “me collector” would look like, how it might work, and what “close but no cigar” options are available now that tackle only parts of this problem.


    – Amy Gahran

  • I strongly believe that OpenID will centralize our brand spread out in small bits and bytes around the world.

  • Thanks all for the feedback

  • Amy,
    I read Jack’s post and I think you should give Profilactic a try. I think it is a lot closer to what you all are describing than the sites you mentioned.

    I posted a pretty detailed description of our site on Jack’s blog. It is awaiting moderation; however, I encourage you to check that out and, if it sounds close, give us a try.


  • Hey Jeremiah,

    I’ve been keeping up with all the Facebook and Twitter stuff as of late through the blogosphere- as well as following your posts on corporate adoption of social media. All very interesting from an outsiders perspective.

    One question that keeps coming up for me is whether all of these new social media trends will just stay within the tech community (not just Web 2.0 community but the greater tech community) or do you see it reaching out to the masses? Sears, Ikea, BMW, Whole Foods, Gap, Real Estate, Public Works (Offices of the mayor, police, electric company), churches, Your local Plumbers, etc. ??

    And the reason I’m curious about this is due to the fact that it seems that all of these services continue advancing so fast- myspace then facebook twitter then pownce, etc.- that the only community that can ever keep up with the latest and greatest is the tech community. Because they have the tools to do so.

    Maybe a side note to this is- How could I ever play the “linking game” or “facebook networking ordeal” when I’m out in the field on a tractor most of the day and on the computer just in the evening? Analagous to this is all the other non-tech Joe Schmoes with the same situation.

    Do you see where I’m going with this. Where and when does the mass adoption of social networking happen? Or do we just wait for the generation ‘y’ to live with it and see the mass adoption in another 15 years?

    Any insights?

  • Pingback: Web Strategy by Jeremiah » BlogScope, an upcoming robust Social Media Measurement tool (Velocity, Sentiment, and Authority)()

  • Pingback: Thomas - Technical Blogger Link Karma «()

  • Pingback: מה משווקים באינטרנט צריכים לדעת על Twitter()

  • Pingback: » How Not to Manage Brand in the Internet Age()

  • Pingback: What Growth in Widget networks means to the Web Strategist()