Social Network Backlash continues…

In a recent spate of blog posts there has been a renewed trend toward social networking bashing.1. Jason Calacanis has mentioned that he is facing Facebook “bankruptcy”. In his post, he mentions his friend Robert Seidman’s comment:

“I’m curious though, is there anything you feel like you will miss, or miss out on as a result of punting? Was there anything specific you found of value versus everything else available to you via the Internet that you feel “I will miss that, but it just wasn’t worth the trouble.”

Jason’s answer was that the only thing he will miss is his ability to promote what he is doing.

2. Profy.com reports that:

“the UK-based Telegraph has reported that “more than two thirds of employers are banning or restricting the use of Facebook and similar sites over fears that staff are wasting time on them when they should be working.”

3. Even the advertisers are chiming in: From a recent report titled: Advertisers disappointed with Facebook’s CTR,

the author asks:

“More reports are circulating of disappointing click-through rates for advertising placed on Facebook. Should marketers persevere or concede that social networking sites aren’t yet the place for ads?”

In the article they cite GigaOm’s evaluation of the issue:

“Word on the street, Madison Avenue that is, is that advertisers who have experimented and bought ads on Facebook are universally disappointed with the results. Consequently, getting these big brands to come back to the table and pony up again with significant ad-buys is going to be very difficult. In other words, Facebook is looking at a foggy fiscal future, and needs to make some tough decisions.”

So whats all the noise really about? It seems that larger social networks have proverbially “Jumped the Shark” and face the same problems any other high-traffic site face: How do you make it easier for users to find what they want (and prolong engagement) while making it easier and more profitable for advertisers to monetize the attention of these users?

The value for users of a social network is the network’s ability to connect people to people and people to content. The value of of these networks to advertisers is the ability to connect these users to RELEVANT messages and offers that users will respond to.
The principal issue for both users and advertisers is time. Users have less of it the more involved they become with the web and social media, and advertisers demand immediate results. In order for these “Meta” social networks to remain relevant in a world where niche networks are popping up daily, they need to proactively deliver relevant content and ads, rather than putting the onus on the user to find whats relevant.

The good news is there is plenty of technology on the market or coming to the market that powers this type of “semantic” delivery. Stay tuned here for more on this subject in the next couple of months!

This post originally appeared here: http://www.relevantlyspeaking.com/rs/2007/8/3/social-network-backlash-continues.html

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