The Real Deal on Social Networking
EDITOR’S NOTE: I am delighted to welcome as a guest columnist Robert Yoegel, vice president, online publisher at North American Publishing Co., the parent company of Business Common Sense.
The story of Allison Stokke, the California teenager is hot … this nice little girl in sports bra, short-shorts and firm grip on a pole has taken the Internet by storm.
And she did it to herself.
Or maybe she did not do it to herself—did somebody else do it?
Check out the “Allison Stokke” hyperlinks at the end of the story and judge for yourself.
Crazes and Crazies
The latest craze online is known as social networking, which combined with another new term “citizen journalism” (aka, blogs or user-generated content, including the use of video and audio), makes up what O’Reilly Media in 2004 and now countless geeks have dubbed Web 2.0, a collaborative and sharing environment on Web sites.
Social networking quickly became a kind of 21st century shopping mall, a place for youth to “hang out” and meet others. High school and college kids—basically anyone who can’t legally get into a bar—led the charge on social networking sites like Facebook and MySpace, owned by NewsCorp and the deep pockets of media mogul Rupert Murdoch.
Both Facebook and MySpace allow users to register and create personalized Web pages that tout their interests, life experiences and often their education level, sexual orientation and religion while spilling their guts about peers, parents or siblings. Just a few weeks ago, I passed a college student proudly wearing a T-shirt that bragged she met her boyfriend on MySpace, maybe signaling an end to matches “made in heaven.”
As Wall Street began to pay attention to social networking, it didn’t take long for business-to-business Web firms serving industries of all sizes to introduce destinations like LinkedIn, created in an attempt to get a piece of some $300 million to $900 million in advertising on these sites, which according to eMarketer will grow to $2.5 billion by 2011. Similar reports suggest that MySpace and Facebook take almost 75% of what’s being spent right now by advertisers, so it’s no wonder everyone is trying to get in on the action.