Weekly Digest of the Social Networking Space: Jan 7, 2009


I’m respecting your limited time by publishing this weekly digest on the Social Networking space, which I cover as an industry analyst. By creating this digest (I started this over a year ago) it really helps me to stay on top of the space I cover.

I’ve created a new category called Digest (view archives). Start with the Web Strategy Summary, then quickly scan the succinct and categorized headlines, read text for my take, and click link to dive in for more.

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Web Strategy Summary
Due to slower news during holidays, this digest includes the last two weeks of news. Social Networking usage increases during the Holidays, and also due to a recession, this is a key opportunity for the industry to demonstrate new value by allowing people to connect, get retrained, and find jobs during this tough economy. More issues around culture, data, and privacy occur in Facebook, and the landscape is peppered with layoffs and partnerships. This is tumoltuous time.

Web Usage: Spike in Facebook usage during Christmas
More time with family? Desire to connected to friends during the quiet weeks? There was a significant increase in Facebook traffic this holiday season, the ironic thing is that retailers haven’t moved in to offer gift giving options for friends. For a UK perspective see what roared and bored during the Holiday season.

Web Usage: Job seekers seek social networks
No surprise here, when people want to get retrained, connect with others, or notify others of job needs, social networks (where their contacts are) is a strong place to start. On the other hand, some may work for free, if it’s just for ‘praise’, the new currency.

Facebook sues Power.com
Power.com a social networking aggregator, which means you can view all your social networking activity from one place has been sued by Facebook for copyright and trademark infringement; unlawful competition; and violation of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, CAN-SPAM Act, and the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, among other charges. Facebook is known for keeping it’s member data close to it’s chest, while others tend to be more open.

Downsizing: Mzinga has layoffs
Heard through the twitter stream, a little birdy notified me that a few of Mzinga’s employee base has been let go. I sent each of them personal messages, and let them know of the job resources I have for social media folks, wishing them the best. Even though Mzinga doesn’t have an official press release announcing the downsizing –word rapidly spreads.

Cause: Facebook battles Lactivists, Growth in Argentina
Mothers who want to show pictures of them breastfeeding in Facebook were denied –the battle ensues. The line between ‘indecency’ and nature isn’t clearly drawn/. Mobile adoption and recently translated site versions has spurred growth in Argentina for Facebook.

Learning: Social Networks valuable to youth education
This article suggests that “exploring new interests and tinkering with new forms of media, young people are picking up basic social and technical skills, such as how to create a video or game or customize a MySpace page”

Partnership: Sean O’Driscoll Teams up with Jake McKee
Two community mavens, who I’ve intervewed both for Forrester reports on community, have joined forces, and Sean joins Ant’s Eye View to help brands with social networking and community strategy and deployment. I’ll be speaking to them soon to learn about their offerings. Also, read Jake’s announcement.

Biography: Ning’s Executive Gina gives interview
Ning’s Gina Bianchini gives a rare look into her life –and watching silicon valley.

Culture: Kids freak out when friended by Parents
My friend Jennifer Jones and I have had quite a few interesting discussions on how kids react when parents ‘invade’ their personal and social lives in Facebook.

Research: Forrester’s Wave on Community Platforms to publish Friday
Stay tuned, I’ll be releasing the high level findings at end of week.

If you’re a social network, or widget company, I want to know of your news, send me an email, or leave a comment below. Help me stay up to date.

Hungry For Social Networking Stats? Then you should see my collection of Social Networks Site Usage: Visitors, Members, Page Views, and Engagement by the Numbers in 2008? Bookmark it, then share it with others as I continue to update it.

  • Mzinga did have a cost-cutting reduction in force yesterday. The organization changes were required as part of a new round of capital we have secured to ensure we maintain our leadership in these poor economic times. Less than 10% of the company was affected, but it is still an unfortunate event to lose GREAT people from the team!

    I am happy to be a reference for any of the folks we lost, you can find me on twitter @patrickmoran

  • Thank you Patrick this is good to hear from you. Great you can be a reference to them.

  • Thanks for noticing our merger Jeremiah. Jake and I look forward to talking with you about our plans. It’s always been the time, but now more than ever, for brands to focus on differentiating through customer experience and no where is the evidence of the “truthiness” of their brand promise more evident than in social media. We’re excited about applying our experiences as both brand practitioners and as consultants to working with companies looking to drive impact in this area.


  • re: Facebook. Some friends have kids turning 13 and getting on Facebook– and yes, they friend them there- it’s a given. AFAIK the kids don;t mind (much)- and parents are generally involved in the kids’ lives anyway– being holistic in participation is important.

    One issue- one buddy friended her daughter, then her daughter’s friends “friended” him. I don;t know if he followed them back, but a profile that shows a sudden interest in 13 year-old girls (even an innocent case like this) begs explanation.

  • Sean, I look forward to our discussion.

    Doug, that’s funny/sad. I couldn’t but help but chuckle.

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  • Jeremiah – great wrap up post as usual. I was sad to hear about my friends (and sister) at Mzinga being let go but appreciate your willingness to help them.

    -Sean/Jake, I was thrilled to hear your news. What a great combo!

    One note of clarification… In now work for a company called “Powered.” We are in no way affiliated with the “Power.com.” In this case, the “ed” at the end is an important differentiator. 😉 We create social marketing programs for big brands vs. social networking aggregation.

    Aaron | @aaronstrout

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