Saturday, 3 April 2010

Social Networking - It's The First Quarter Roundup!

Guess what? I'm on annual leave next week, and I'm looking forward to every moment of it. The first quarter of the year is over, and already there have been a lot of developments in the social media sphere - I've written down a few of my thoughts on the biggest ones below

Foursquare: After a few irritating, stalled weeks on my Blackberry, is now working like a dream. Initially, like with most good ideas, I wondered what the fuss was about - but then again I guess more than a few of the 400 million Facebook users thought the same thing about social networking at first. It recently beat the 500k checkins a day mark, and looks set to go stellar in the next few months.

The big challenge for me to get my head around is how it's going to translate into a successful tool for the music industry. I've already sent it around my office, and all of the noises have been pretty positive. We're working on a few ideas at the moment. I'm not telling you them yet though. Mwah-ha-ha.

iPad: I've heard a few tastemakers and important people online wondering firstly, what is it going to replace, and secondly, contrary to Apple's claims, is it really any better than a cheap laptop/netbook.

My two penneth on the matter is that I think that it will be pretty successful, and that, as always, Apple will find a way for it to become indispensable to us. It will be harder for them this time around though - the iPod was a clear update on the previous clunky, truely dreadful portable MP3 players, and, well, the iPhone is simply an immense piece of kit. The appeal of the iPad is harder to distinguish, but we will see. The proof of the iPudding is in the, well, you get the idea. I won't be rushing out to get one just yet though.

Facebook: Facebook recently passed their 400 million users marker, and it is now the default location for people on the internet. With this in mind, brands have been greedily circling, waiting to pounce on your information to dessimate around their company, ensuring that sales people will start flooding your FB inbox with Viagra emails. Either that, or, well, they just want to inform you of special offers and incentives that you might not have otherwise heard of. Or they want to improve their customer service, or gauge feedback on products and services. Either way, Facebook's up-and-coming new privacy settings, which I would stake good money on giving less privacy to users and more leeway for brands to access fan information.

I think that more access for brands is a good thing. Why? Well, firstly, everbody has a right to privacy, but if you really value your personal information, don't share it in a semi-public forum. There is no shame in being ex-directory on the biggest phonebook in the planet, but please don't complain if you have the option to abstain.

Secondly, more access for brands will enable the good ones, the ones that care and understand the networks, to find out what they are doing right and what they are doing wrong. And that could ultimately be good for everybody's pocket.

Facebook's eagerness to please brands and their core users alike is in stark contrast to Twitter, who have kind of fallen by the wayside. Where are these premium services they have been promising for so long? A no-show on these at SXSWi was very disappointing, although @anywhere is a nice feature.

So, all in all, the first quarter of the online year has shaped up pretty nicely, and a lot of services are poised pretty nicely, like a ball ready to be volleyed into the back of the net. So we'll see what happens in the coming months. What it holds for the music industry? Well, we'll see.

Wish me luck on my week off!

And here's a couple great track to send you off into the Easter break - both from Professor Green. Enjoy!