Widget Roundtable: Categorizing the Industry

[Viral Marketing doesn’t work, tell everyone you know]

Left: Dave McClure is being Ironic. According to Flickr, this is my MOST popular photograph, even more popular than my photo that got on digg and received 200,000 views.

Problems
Currently, there are over 13,000 widgets on Facebook, and we should expect that number to increase exponentially as companies like MySpace, Bebo, Friendster, LinkedIn, and all other networks become containers for widgets to grow on top of them.

Goals
Help users, marketers, developers, and the industry better understand the widget industry. Help define where widgets are heading, what are trends, and what to plan for next.

What we’re going to do

Sadly, there’s no way to accurately describe widgets, measure them consistently, or categorize them. As a result, tonight, I’ll be hosting Dave McClure (who helps teach the Stanford Facebook class, and runs the Graphing Social Patterns conference), Justin Smith (of Inside Facebook), Rodney Rumford (of FaceReviews), and colleague Charlene Li over to Forrester in Foster City (picture of building) to have a discussion about the widget industry. We’re going to do a landscape segmentation of this growing industry, map it out, so we can better understand the market, and thereby help support/analyze it.

Success for this widget industry mapping exercise looks like:

  • Be completely self-containable with no overlap with each other
  • Succinct and descriptive
  • Every widget will cleanly fall into one of those (or more than)
  • The labels will stand the test of time
  • Be vendor agnostic, and think of the bigger industry
  • I’ve been very transparent in my research process (while still maintaining value for my clients), I’ve recorded a few videos of folks I’ve interviewed for upcoming reports, and plan to live stream this discussion (providing it works, technically), and Rodney is going to film it and publish it. Watch my tweets around 4pm PST today for details.

    In the future, I’ll be hosting other events for this social networking and social media industry, but my only requirement is that actual work get done and actual deliverables are created for my clients and the marketplace. It’s easy to be all talk, but let’s focus on deliverables.