Tuesday, August 25, 2009

The New Micro Media Aggregation, Syndication & Social Search Model

Given the current state of our social technology landscape, it seems that a new model is emerging that sheds very serious light on consumer control and activation; it is comprised of:

- Premium long-tail content developers (influencers, super-users and 'prime' blog networks) 
- Content aggregation platforms (Facebook / FriendFeed ) 
- Conversation & social search engines (Twitter / Google Caffeine / Collecta et al) 

The idea is that content developers will keep developing more premium content to cut through the clutter and saturation of mediocre mid-tail content. Conversation and social search engines will continue to filter the good content from the not-so-good content, and aggregators will give users ease-of-use and relevancy, such as dynamic comment threads, in order to interact and spread this premium content. 

So why call it 'micro media' (which is not a new term, by the way...)? For three main reasons:

1. The lines between content and delivery are becoming more blurred, to the extent that these 'packets' can live in shorter bursts, or be digested in smaller, more relevant bits.

2. The portability of these packets allows them to be dynamically and semantically indexed into search, most often in real-time and also re-threaded through content or commentary streams (like FriendFeed).

3. Further, these content streams will be reshaped so that new semantic layers will build up (think of a new form of cookies) a value chain that is unique to each and every user, and will not only have topical relevance, but one that will represent a new relationship between local markets and niche categories.

Micro media give influencers more targeted reach, as well as the ability to tap into niche markets that represent degrees of conversation - people in their social graph and relevant communities. As such, we will see a dramatic rise of super-users and common interest communities (tribes), and in using social technologies such as monitoring platforms, for example, we will then be able to accurately map groups of people (social graphs) that we can then target with more meaningful and useful information and content, which of course they can then spread to their peers, and their peers, and so on.

Ultimately, as the players within the landscape narrow and more consolidation takes place, new channels will form that offer more utility for creation and use. Whether or not networks and agencies play a role in this - at least as we know them - is anyone's guess. But one thing is for sure... if you're a brand, you definitely don't want to be late to the party.

Thoughts? Reactions? Upheavals? 


Big Daddy said...

The key factor is going to be whether or not this aggregating and creation of networks happens organically or if people try to self-segment. I think if it happens within the tools we use day to day, organically, then it will become a powerful marketing tool.

I'm equally confident that for every medium there will be a way to commercialize it and provide advertising-style interaction with the content but it will be interesting to see in which form that takes. Will advertising infact become a less-media focused, more personality-human based focus over the next few years?

IE: will organizations be required to hire, train and support staff who are engaging on conversation versus large ad agencies to develop national TV campaigns?

Gunther Sonnenfeld said...

Big Daddy - great insights. I think content and network creation will happen organically, although there is, and needs to be, considerable 'self-policing' when it comes to observing protocol (think of structured versus unstructured data).

To answer your last question, this is starting to happen, although, as you might imagine, the media models that agencies typically impose on clients is just one of the major hurdles. However, the agencies who realize that things like social technologies can actually reduce waste - on TV buys, for example - are the ones who are winning in the mad scramble to provide media efficiency.