Weekly Digest of the Social Networking Space: May 17, 2009

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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
The era of social colonization continues to power forward with Google pushing OpenID –this will extend connections to Google’s massive empire to startups and others. The era of social functionality will see some media impacts as media companies seek to provide new experiences for communities, the Watchman movie to be provided to the Facebook community. Facebook seeks to ‘buy out’ shares from impatient employees.

Identity: Google encourages socialization with OpenID interface
Google announces the OpenID User Interface Extension Specification which is intended to streamline the logins and adoption of commonly agreed upon identity systems. This login requests authentication with Google accounts, but also promotes the use of OpenID. Expect more announcements like this from other platforms to occur as we slowly mature into the era of social colonization.

Finance: Facebook raises money to liquidate employees
In Silicon Valley, where I hail from, working at a company with the hopes of an exit strategy is the dream. Workers at hot startups, like Facebook, may have a below market rate salary in hopes of someday cashing in. The challenge, during a recession is that an IPO is unlikely to happen for a few years, and so Facebook raises funds to buy back equity from employees –giving them some cash in hand.

Video: Watchman Movie to be available on Facebook
This is what we call the era of social functionality, when communities can do something useful with each other. In this case, they can watch a movie together, this one being Watchman, comment and explore the scenes as a group. Expect other traditional media content to appear on Facebook making all media, social media.

Strategy: SixApart offers features for WordPress Rival
Letting go to reach communities where they exist –espicially if they are your competitors is a smart strategy to reach new users. Why limit your reach to your ‘install’ base only, but instead, let your most popular features spread to competitive users. Six Apart has intended to do just that, and has announced they will make plugins available for wordpress users –expect WordPress to follow suit.

Policy: WSJ enacts social media rules for journalists
This one is perplexing, yet I understand the intent. Journalists have a specific code of ethics to follow when it comes to protecting sources, and keeping subjects at arms length. The challenge, according to this piece, suggests that the policy is out of date to human behavior, and suggests that the new policies are out of touch.

Research: Social Network Advertising to diminish
eMarketer reports that: “Total U.S. advertising expenditures on social networks are expected to fall 3% to $1.14 billion this year, down from the $1.18 billion spent in 2008, according to Internet market research company eMarketer.” Do note that the research appeared to be based on spend within MySpace.

Culture: Social networks a harbor for hatred and sex
We’re at an intersection where social networks must decide if they are going to allow free speech, or clean up hate speech to improve the community experience. We’re seeing uprisings within Facebook’s holocaust denial movement (which they have now made some changes) and even Craigslist under fire for policy changes around adult services. The open web has both benefits of a global conversation, but with it comes the unwanted discussions that each culture may embrace or abhor.

Personal: Amsterdam to Paris
Although I’m on international travel in the Netherlands and about to go to vacation, I continue to do this digest to stay on top of my ever changing industry –it’s my weekly mental workout. I’ll be taking the week off after my client engagement on Monday, but will still be active online –just don’t expect me to answer emails. I’m also wrapping up my first report for the quarter “How to organize your company for social media” which includes survey result data, and interviews from companies.


Submit: I’m listening. 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 but first, read how to score your announcements.

Hungry For Social Networking Stats? Then you should see my collection of Social Networks Stats for 2008 and 2009. Bookmark them, then share it with others as I continue to update it.