What's next in social media?


'Social discovery' as the engine for social networking

Sam Laird, Mashable.com, 5/6/12

According to comScore's social networking data from March, Tagged was the only site to finish in the top two in both of comScore's engagement metrics. Tagged users visited an average of 18 times during March, second only to Facebook's average of 36 visits. And each time a Tagged user visited the site, he or she stuck around for 12.1 minutes -- which trailed only Tumblr (14.7 minutes) and beat out Facebook (10.9 minutes). The secret to Tagged's success? A pivot co-founders Greg Tseng and Johann Schleier-Smith made [in] 2008. "...we found out a lot of our users were actually using Tagged to meet new people, so that led us into a new space called 'social discovery,' where people use sites to make new social relationships." As opposed to sites like Facebook, where people primarily organize and maintain relationships established offline, Tagged functions mostly as a portal to meet new people online for romance or simply friendship. The site's algorithms encourage users to connect based on shared interests, tastes and hobbies. Tseng says Tagged's 10 million core monthly active users form an average of 100 million new connections per month. "If I look out at the next five or 10 years, I really see social discovery as big as social networking -- I think you can think of social discovery as the engine for social networking," he says, referencing Dunbar's number, which theorizes that humans can maintain an average of 150 connections at a time. "Facebook is the place where you maintain your current 150," he says. "And Tagged will be the place where you refresh that 150."


'Social reading' and other ways to share news

Amy Mitchell, Tom Rosenstiel & Leah Christian, Pew's "State of the News Media" report, 3/19/12

Perhaps no topic in technology attracted more attention in 2011 than the rise of social media and its potential impact on news. "If searching for news was the most important development of the last decade, sharing news may be among the most important of the next," we wrote in a May 2011 report. At the moment, Facebook and, to a lesser extent, Twitter, dominate this intersection of social media and news. In 2011, Facebook furthered the news element of its platform with developments like the Social Reader, which allows users to follow, read and share news without ever leaving the network. Facebook and Twitter are now pathways to news, but [they] are additional paths to news, not replacements for more traditional ones. [Also,] Twitter and Facebook function differently from each other. Facebook users get more news from friends and family and see it as news they might well have gotten someplace else if Facebook did not exist. For Twitter users, though, the news links come from a more even mix of family and friends and news organizations. Most of these users also feel that without Twitter, they would have missed this kind of news.


Related: A news digest that learns your interests from your Twitter feed

Rebecca J. Rosen, The Atlantic magazine, 4/30/12

I get a good proportion of the news I read primarily in the form of links I find on Twitter. I read hundreds of tweets and mark a few as favorites, articles I will read in full once I'm in the office. I find great stuff, but it's not particularly efficient. That is why I have been enjoying Prismatic, a site that pulls together content that's interesting to me from all over the Internet. For each story, there's a quick summary, a picture, and the tweets of a few people who have linked to it. Within Prismatic I can retweet or favorite the stories. Prismatic finds content for you by looking at what you have shared on Twitter, the publishers you link to, and who your friends are (it will eventually account for Facebook as well). But the content doesn't only come from your Twitter feed -- it comes from anywhere on the Internet, using clues in your feed to find things that will interest you. Anyone with a Twitter account can sign up for an invite.


Social networking ushers in a whole new approach to foundation giving

Shelley Wenk, guest post on Beth Kanter's blog, 5/4/12

How do foundations address power, technology, and audience differently in the 21st century? That was the topic floated during [a panel discussion last week] at the Council on Foundations' annual conference in Los Angeles. Panelists from Packard, Knight, Case, ZeroDivide, and MacArthur Foundations, DotOrgPower, and audience participants agreed that foundations must adapt now in order to remain strong, effective change-makers.Foundations have generally been cautious about leveraging the power of online community. But when asked about the risk of losing control of the message, Case's Allie Burns declared, "You've already lost control." What's important now is to participate in and benefit from the conversation. Panelists agreed that organizations seeing the biggest returns on social media have leadership that recognizes the value of technology in communications, and stressed that leaders don't need to understand the details of specific technologies. MacArthur Foundation's Jen Humke suggested the sector needs a research agenda beyond surveys and case studies. Andy Sherry and Larry Eason from DotOrgPower pointed to the use of real-time online data visualization by political campaigns and issue organizations. [This] could be used to measure the impact of foundation communications. Panelists viewed social networks as an opportunity rather than a threat: Attracting the best grantees and partners; Leveraging communications as an agent of change; Crowd-sourcing ideas; Collaborating with stakeholders; Democratizing philanthropy; Expanding the reach of grantees' successes by sharing information; Expanding your own impact by sharing what you're learning from grantees and from your own social media experiments; Increasing transparency, efficiency, and engagement.


Microvolunteering, via social networks

From an interview with Koodo's Jennifer Robertson by Rebecca Coleman on her blog, 4/26/12

At Koodo, we know that people really want to make a difference in their communities. So to help make it happen, we've created Koodonation -- an online microvolunteering community that makes it easy and convenient for busy people to lend their skills to non-profits, all in their spare time. Now, while I would love to say the idea of Koodonation was mine... it wasn't! It was a combination of the work from the incredible team I work with at Strategic Objectives and the team at Sparked - a microvolunteering community in the U.S. The idea to us was brilliant:

  • Microvolunteering was totally new to Canada
  • Any non-profit across Canada could take advantage of it
  • Any volunteer could use it and contribute to the challenges posted by the non-profits
  • The platform is easy, interactive (sign up takes less than 5 minutes)
  • It's social (uses Facebook to sign up, share on your wall a challenge you just helped on, ...)

Think of microvolunteering as a type of volunteering that is done online and that fits in the kind of time you spend on Facebook. It's crowdsourced, which means that anyone can help. Microvolunteering really broadens a non-profit's reach. It's also network-managed, which means a non-profit can use this network to have questions answered, get opinions, get ideas.


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Commentary: Are people engaging in online communities more than we thought?

Bobbie Johnson, GigaOm.com, 5/6/12

If you've hung around the internet long enough, you may be familiar with the "One Percent Rule". It says that, in an online community, 1% of people will create content, another 10% will engage with it, and the remainder will simply lurk. It's been a rule of thumb for the last few years, and has developed into an important guiding principle for a lot of people thinking about how the web helps us connect with each other. But is its time over? In a post on the BBC's Internet Blog, senior research executive Holly Goodier suggests the One Percent Rule has outlived its usefulness, with a study of British web users showing that people are now drastically more interested in -- and likely to engage with -- online content. Surveys by her team found that 77% of people were now engaged online. Amazing, huh? Not quite. The BBC appears to have missed [that the] One Percent Rule was never intended to dictate a single pattern across the entire web: it was a rough guideline for expectations inside any given online community. People behave in different ways in different places. [For example,] you could be highly active on Twitter, but remain a lurker on a site like Metafilter. The BBC research is really just comparing apples and oranges. In another post about the levels of participation with BBC Radio 1, producer Jem Stone points out a couple of statistics. Out of a total audience of 13 million, 150,000 actively create messages about the station on Twitter, and 1.5 million consume and interact with that content on Facebook. The remainder, more than 11 million people, simply listen to the show. Looks a lot like the One Percent Rule to me.

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