Friday, January 29, 2010

How everything on the web is quickly becoming useless...

Sometimes things move so fast, you don't even feel yourself spinning.. kind of like standing on the earth...or moving in a fast car.... you are moving - but you just don't feel it.

Well guess what - the Internet right now is moving faster than ever - and I am not sure its going the right direction (or atleast if it is - its leaving everything else behind).

People refer to the current web as "Web 2.0" - but I think that may have been a premature name - assuming you believe 2.0 has some reminense of 1.0. Sure we still have millions of 1.0 websites out there - but they are quickly becoming obsolete.

Nobody goes to websites anymore. We are not in Web 2.0 - we are in new dimension of the Web (lets call it WebOS - kind of catchy old name, for new Web).

So what does this mean? The Web is a platform for utilities (e.g. Applications). User behavior has changed.

BEFORE: Web Marketing = Lets launch a website. Register a cool domain.
NOW: Don't bother, noone will go there - and domains don't matter anymore.

BEFORE: Lets link to other websites, and get links back to our website
NOW: Nobody clicks on links anymore - the web is becoming homogeneus.

BEFORE: Hmmm, this banner ad looks interesting.
NOW: I hate any ad, and for spite I refuse to click.

BEFORE: Let's "surf" the web - click around and explore
NOW: I don't have time to surf or learn new sites - I know where to go to get what I need.

BEFORE: I want to Blog.
NOW: Noone is reading my Blog - I have no audience... I WANT TO POST!

BEFORE: Let me email my friends to see what is going on.
NOW: Why bother emailing, I'll just look at their Wall.

BEFORE: Let me search the web, and see how I can do that
NOW: There is an app for that.

As you can see my point is simple. User behavior has changed, and I am not sure its good for the web. The average number of websites a user hits per day is decreasing NOT increasing. The average user spends more time on a few sites (e.g. facebook), and doing less discovery.

This new phase of the Web, is less about the Internet (the magical tubes that connect us) and more about the Humans behind the device. And you don't need thousands of websites to connect humans. You only really need a few. (Is that good or bad?)

We are molding the Internet into a Human media, and building form factors and tools around specific functions (applications), and ignoring the old "websites". We don't realize it, but with every Tweet or Poke - we are killing a website. Our window to the web is shifting to mobile devices (which have never been web friendly). Take the Iphone. Do you use the IPhone to surf old websites? Probably not. You download an app, and run the app. Going to the browser becomes more of a hassle.

Why are websites dying? Its actually pretty logical if you think about it. A website isn't human. It doesn't talk. It's doesn't communicate. It doesn't show emotion. It's not real-time.

If you think about it - we should be surprised they lasted as long as they did.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Why Social Media is Local

It seems like every conversation I have with people (especially marketing folks) about Social Media - they always talk in terms of Global.... and I am not sure that is the right way to measure social media.

A popular tidbit everyone throws out is "Facebook has over 350M users!!!". Which I admit is impressive - but in reality its a similar stat to "There are 25,000 McDonalds in the world". Which is another impressive stat. But the reality is I have only been to maybe 10 different McDonalds in the last few years - and for the most part I go to one or two close by (e.g. locally).

I am sure everyone I know has eaten at McDonalds at least once or twice - and some people every week. Probably a lot like Facebook. Some of my friends update their status daily or even hourly, and some still have "RIP Michael" as their status.

So is McDonalds a Global Company? Sure, but we don't really think of it that way... we think of it as a local fast food restaurant. We know its everywhere - but we really only care about the one closest to where we live.

I think Social Media is more like McDonalds than we think.

Sure, we all have friends in other states (or even other countries) - but do we really see them that often or even comment on their wall a lot? Or do we really connect more with friends who live closeby or work with us on a daily basis?

What percentage of your Friends live nearby? Probably 80% at least? So doesn't that make Social Media LOCAL?

What events and pictures do you see come across your wall or news feed? Are they nearby? probably... so doesn't that make it LOCAL?

Social Media should be defined from the user perspective NOT by the perspective of the entire network (top down).

FACEBOOK is not 350 Million networked users, just as much as the world is not 5 Billion connected humans. Facebook is a network of 130 friends (see stats) (average number of friends a user has on Facebook). Facebook is not a network of millions of fans - most pages have less than 1,000 fans and are regional in focus.

So if you are looking to engage with Social Media, and looking to market your business - you need to not forget that social media marketing is more like local media marketing than you may think.