Note to CNNMoney, Cymfony: Its the Graph!!

This morning's post on CNNMoney interviewing cheif strategy and marketing officer Jim Nail of online media analytics company Cymfony is alarmingly out of touch. Nail's contention is that social networks are facing a bubble because the young and fickle end users network hop as the newest, coolest thing comes along is an outdated notion of the network effects theory. He goes on to ask "Where was MySpace two years ago?" --Uh, getting acquired by News Corp. The issue I see with his argument-- and this coming from an analytics company?-- is that he seems to be confusing "networks" with their platforms; a "network" is really the social graph, the user behavioral data within a platform or container. The issue is not so much the site's themselves, but decentralizing the social graph of each to make accessible to 3rd parties. Decentralization of the social graph is inevitable, the Giant Global Graph will come to fruition in some form--despite the current challenges to achieving aggregation:

As Web Strategist Jeremiah Owyang of Forrester points out, the following are a few of the challenges facing this quest:

-Social Network vendors scared to open up and let customers and their relationships easily move to other networks
-Agreement needed between all vendors and participants
-Ownership over project and data
-Lack of general market awareness
-User adoption (sadly, I think most users are sheep)
-Likely, a need for a single login
-Creation and costs of third-party silo
-Privacy concerns: many European countries may not embrace
-Multiple security issues
-Legal and government may get involved

While there are challenges, it is important to understand that the Graph, is the future of the social web...not the container or platforms. Opening up access to that data and making it portable is what's next up for social networks.

And whats more, is why is an online media analytics company doing touting the burst of the social networks bubble when online ad spend for 2008 is projected to go through the roof...and when graph data is the basis of their business...yikes


Jim Nail said...

Thanks for your comments. I hope you go back and read the comment I left Paul on his CNN Money post. I quote in part:

"First, my comment “The current trend is unequivocal, inexorable and irreversible” was specifically about social media. Now that consumers have found the ability to express themselves and connect with each other, they’re never going back to sitting on the couch watching TV as their sole entertainment activity.

Will MySpace succeed at this? Will Facebook? I don’t know. But someone will figure out the right model."

Also check out this post on my blog http://blog.cymfony.com/2007/11/im-not-the-only.html . Again, I quote in part:

"Just as consumer adoption of the internet was unfazed by the bust of 2001 - 2002, adoption of social media will be equally unaffected should we see a social media bust take place. They'll just keep connecting to one another, creating videos, making virtual friends....

What should marketers do if the bloom comes off the social media rose? Ignore the anguished cries of VCs and even the doomsday blather that the media may put out. Keep your eye on the people who buy and use your brands. Stay involved with social media because your consumers will be involved with it."

MST 1948 said...

Jim, thanks for the clarification, and apologies about my heated comment on Media Biz.

While I understand yours, other's speculations about social media, the issue must be loooked at from a tech 2.0 perspective as well. this is why i have gripe about marketers not thinking like web strategist. the view must be holistic.

as i said, the value of social media is not the containers, the sites themselves. its the social data layered beneath those interfaces.

right now, all that rich behavioral data is stored within each platform.

those platforms have opened somewhat, to allow 3 party devlopers to come and in and thus we see a proliferation of widgets and Facebook apps.

this occurred because we know that users don't just stay in one platform (ie: MySpace). they do in fact, hop around and have a presence all over the web in many different applications.

a result of this movement has been the above mentioned proliferation of widgets. one's social data can be transported to other places in the social mediaverse: my twitter feed is on my blog, my blog posts are embedded as a widget on my facebook, etc.

the next step here is not speculation about sites themselves, but on the goal of a decentralized (open), aggregated social graph-- the Giant Global Graph. This is the pressing issue...can a giant, open, aggregated graph me monetized?

There was a recent meeting of the minds (including heavyweight Om Malik) to discuss this very issue. Jeremiah Owyang posted a very good article on his blog about it:

I'm just saying that I think the arguement over the future of "networks" as defined by its container (the site) is outdated. the question is what to do with the graph?