Social Networks really came to the fore in 2006. Millions of people have created profiles and in many cases they have created multiple profiles on multiple social networks. I must admit I don’t use any of the consumer social networks, just LinkedIn if that counts and my own blog. But what comes next with social networking; more friends, more pageviews, more widgets?
Well the answer may come from Bebo who today launched their new personal “home” page which I think would have been better off being called “My World”. This new home menu tab is a link to an aggregated landing page that shows you what new things your friends are doing in their profiles. Below is Jose’s page from Bebo and it shows his friends new friends, their new photos and the new bands they are listening too.
In many ways this is a social discovery engine, as opposed to search, based on your friends attention metadata. i.e what they are listening too, looking at or learning about.
By coincidence or not, over the weekend a story appeared on USA Today about social shopping and how people would like to see this as part of their social network. Imagine if Bebo enabled people to rate/recommend products or places within their own profile and that this information then appeared on their friends aggregated home page i.e social shopping meets social networking.
Philip Wilkinson’s [CEO CrowdStorm] blogged about this over the weekend.
What it goes to show is that shopping can, and indeed is, a social activity both on and offline, and that it can be one of the most powerful word of mouth marketing activities due to the “trust factor”. As the article says, a lot of the big social networks would benefit immensely from integrating a social shopping element and they will know that this is not an easy task to do organically. Thinking back to my old price comparison days, ask any of the big players what happened to their own efforts at creating a price comparison engine and then ask why they gave up and partnered with a specialised player…
Either way we will see if the big social networks try and do this themselves or if they seek to acquire specialists like CrowdStorm, TrustedPlaces and/or other social recommendation sites.