Two interesting social angles collide. On the one hand, the relentless search for the next greatest thing; on the other, a feeling that small may be beautiful and that size doesn’t matter as it did once.
Micro-networks are now being touted as the way forward (that is, an emerging market) in more manageable social web play. Online sharing for many has got out of hand. Things people don’t want shared often are splashed across cyberspace. Even things that are good to share can spread in seconds, and be around forever, even if later regretted or altered.
Even some businesses are finding that their message is being distorted by thousands of ‘likes’ when all they wanted was product endorsement.
People love to mash-up and often satirise the work of others. It’s natural creativity.
But it can be frustrating for others, who see their original purpose twisted beyond recognition.
A smaller circle with greater control of who is in or out, may help people feel some residual control of their social networking. Path, for instance, allows only 150 people to be included an anybody’s network.
Path functions on an application programming interface (API) that allows other software components, including other companies, to communicate with each other.
They pointed out that Nike use it to generate a runners’ running diary, but wonder how long is ‘forever’ in ‘private by default’.
Even Two’s a Crowd
It is generally praised, though some, including MKCreative feel ‘150 folks is a huge network by any standards’. Pair simulates e-intimacy, a social network of just two, both of whom need to be on an iPhone.
Just between the two of you, exchange images, texts, doodles and ‘thumb-kissing’. Press the thumb in the middle of the screen to make the partner’s phone vibrate and the user know that he/she has been ‘thumb-kissed’! It’s a variation of the ‘hugging jacket’ developed in the USA.
Micro-Networks Music to the Ears
Pop superstar Lady Gaga and her business manager Troy Carter have set up Backplane, a company with plans to ‘revolutionise social networks by uniting people around interests, affinities and movements in unprecedented ways’.
This effectively means building small micro-networks, with Lady Gaga’s LittleMonsters as the first. They ambitiously call it ‘a new type of social corridor’.
They argue that audiences are seeking new and more meaningful ways to connect and engage with each others. Carter said that sites like Spotify have ‘democratised music’ as consumers demanded more convenient ways of consuming music and entertainment.
Backplane claims to fill a gap in the current social spectrum (that is, market), ‘by empowering sharing and conversation that is effortless but not automatic’. What it does is to become the perfect place for ‘brands to build relationships with consumers’. The ideal channel for artists to make more out of their material.
Twitter has been the out-runner, harnessing data from fans, and through these kinds of sites with personalised @favouriteartist.com email addresses and the like, fans (customers) will see everything ever produced/recorded/written/said and buy tickets and merchandise.
They run a team of top class designers, technologists, artists, developers and – here’s the point – ‘disruptors and visionaries’ working together to define the next generation of the consumer web.
So it’s good old-fashioned retailing economics, but done by top-notch creatives and ‘disruptors’. Perfect.
MKCreative, Rise of Micro-Networks Might Reconfigure Social Outreach, April 2012
Also check out:
Friends, Favourites, Choices and Other Myths of the Digital Era, 22 October 2012
Internet Memes Are Sometimes Fun with a Satirical, Serious Purpose, 25 September 2012
All That Twitters is No Longer Gold, 3 September 2012
If You’re Appy and You Know It … 16 April 2012
Image: Jimmy Johansson