by February 1, 2010 0 comments



Many social networking platforms are undergoing a tremendous upgrade. It is
now not limited to laptops or PCs, mobiles are increasingly playing an important
role in the quest for a virtual social connect. Location based social networking
seems to be the new fad. A network of social networks may soon find existence
which would reduce the burden of visiting multiple social networking sites to
stay connected. Most brands are looking up to new tools to monitor online
discussions regarding their products and take actions to move in the right
direction for their benefit. This article talks about some of these trends that
would affect how virtual social networking works.

Direct Hit!

Applies To: Everyone
USP: Learn about the latest trends in social networking
Primary Link: research.microsoft.com
Search Engine Keyword: location based social networking,
intertwined networks

Mobile based social networking
The latest technology addition to the vast expanse of social networking
platforms is the use of mobiles. And we can bet that their participation in the
widespread increase of social networking is bound to grow from strength to
strength. Mobiles present an easy mode of connect for real time social
networking. People do not need to wait to be connected to a PC or a laptop to be
able to connect with their friends and family. Mobiles offer easy connectivity
regarding social networking updates and more on the go. Increasing number of
smart phones and the use of widgets has enabled the average user to be connected
to their network. Mobiles are tipped to take over as the predominant social
networking platform from PCs and laptops as more and more applications enable
more power to the mobile user. Also, mobiles are an easier mode of staying
connected to your business or social network for a longer period of time.

Location based social networking
Existing social networking platforms are predominantly stationary. Location
based social networking enables users registered onto a network to identify
themselves whenever they reach within a certain predefined proximity. Users
would be able to see virtual profiles of these people just as they do of people
on any other social networking site. People with common interests could then
meet up and collaborate for work and pleasure. Though location based social
networking is predominantly mobile based, there are enough new technological
advancements happening to make this platform accessible on the go on platforms
not merely restricted to mobile space. It has been predicted that location based
social networking sites could register revenues exceeding $3 billion by 2013.

The next wave of social networking will comprise
location-based social networking. On the left you can see a photo being
uploaded from a smart phone to photowall.com, while on the right you can see
the uploaded photo with geo tags on the site.

Although the current situation begs to differ, the proposed revenues may
still be met and there is evidence to suggest that. There is a high chance that
some of the established networks could add the location based social networking
model to their existing ones which will only enhance their capabilities and
reach. Some of the existing location based social networking platforms include
Brightkite, GyPSii, Pelago and Loopt.  Twitter would be launching geo-tweets
very soon; this will allow users to embed their location with their tweets.
Similarly a company called PhotoWALL displays real-time media streams (or WALLs)
by presenting live media precisely when it happens. It allows mobile users to
send live photos along with various geo-tags and Voice tags to an attractive
search website for public, network or private viewing. Location based social
networking also opens a whole new range of possibilities such as location based
advertising, finding like-minded people who are near you, recommending places to
friends, finding reviews what people around you have to say about a particular
place or product, etc.

Intertwined networks
Interoperability is going to be the next major thing to look out for in the
coming days. With increasing number of social networking platforms, it has
become a norm for a person to be on multiple networking sites. As the social web
develops, more sites will begin to integrate their services with one another.
Already, widgets are available that can update Facebook and Twitter at the same
time. With so many social media sites, people not just have identities but hubs
spanning dozens of sites. This may help the retailers and other businesses to
have a relationship with a consumer’s overall identity across several sites,
rather than a direct channel of information to one particular profile. The
Outlook Social Connector (OSC) is an application to look out for.

It is being designed to bring social views of your colleagues and friends
right to the Inbox. The OSC  facilitates reading your e-mail messages along with
a glance down at the new People Pane to see the picture, name, and title of the
sender. A rich, aggregated collection of information about the sender is
included. The OSC presents information related to communication history,
meetings, attachments, activity feed amongst others.

Brand monitoring
With the increasing number of companies and brands finding space on the
networks, another problem that seems to be cropping up is the brand image and
its discussion. As more and more brands are being easily accessed through
various ways online, these brands are keen on finding out the response that is
being generated for them. With the advent of social networking, it is very
important for the brands to keep their image under track and ensure that they
are aware of what people discuss about them. Listening to the buzz around your
brand is not only important from a reputation management standpoint, but also
because it serves as a way to better understand ways of improving your brand.
Brand monitoring helps brands to gauge the exact customer response. This helps
companies to decide upon and change their marketing strategies to create the
right buzz for themselves. Social networking platforms are now increasingly
becoming platforms for these brands to use and benefit from the brand monitoring
tools.

Many free as well as paid Brand monitoring tools are available nowadays which
can help you with this task. ‘Google alerts’ is a free service that helps you
receive email or RSS updates related to the keywords that we may set. Another
great app is the ‘Tweetbeep’ which lets you receive email when someone mentions
a certain keyword on Twitter. Similarly, the app named ‘Omgili’ allows you to
monitor any mentions about the brand or company on forums across the network.
‘How sociable?’ is a great little website that allows you to track mentions of
your company or brand across a range of different social networks and feeds. ‘Backtype’
enables monitoring as well as generating the desired response in the form of
email or RSS feed. Monitoring the response for your brand and timely response
becomes a great way to generate online PR across platforms.

The social networking platform has now become an endless entity of
opportunities. More and more new ideas are being pumped into this platform.
There is no tap on the potential that this platform provides. It is up to the
people to use it to their advantage.

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