Our children will inherit a world profoundly changed by the combination of technology and humanity that is social media. They’ll take for granted that their voices can be heard and that a social movement can be launched from their laptop. They’ll take for granted that they are connected and interconnected with hundreds of millions of people at any given moment. And they’ll take for granted that a black man is or was President of the United States.
What’s most profound is that these represent parts of a greater whole. They represent a shift in power from centralized institutions and organizations to the People they represent. It is the evolution of democracy by way of technology, and we are all better for it.
For most of us, social media has changed our lives in some meaningful way. Collectively it is changing the world for good. Given the pace of innovation and adoption, change has become a constant. Every so often we find the need to stop and reflect on its most recent and noteworthy developments, hence the following list.
Please note this is not a top-10 list, nor are these listed in any particular order. It’s also incomplete. So we ask that you add to this conversation in the comments. If you’d like to Retweet this post or take the conversation to Twitter or FriendFeed, please use the hashtag #10Ways.
1. Take Social Actions: The nonprofit organization Social Actions aggregates “opportunities to make a difference from over 50 online platforms” through its unique API. It recently held the Change the Web Challenge contest in order to inspire the most innovative applications for that API. The Social Actions Interactive Map won the $5,000 first prize. The result is a virtual tour of the world through the lens of social action. “People are volunteering, donating, signing petitions, making loans and doing other social actions as we speak — all over the world. To capture the context of the where, this project uses sophisticated techniques to extract location information from full text paragraphs.” You can also join the Social Actions Community, which is powered by Ning…which now boasts more than one million individual social networks. Continue reading
In our attempt to stay in touch with our audience we have launched our own myspace like community. Here our readers can post their own blogs, upload pics, video and music, personalize their profiles and have access to free downloads and more… Join now and start to interact with our community!
Capitalizing on the trend that has become rapper’s making their own social-networks, West Coast representer The Game is creating, ThisIzGame.com, an obvious jack of Curtis Jackson’s own ThisIs50.com As we reported yesterday ThisIs50 is Ning’s most popular site on their do-it-yourself social network platform. The Game is gearing up to release his third album, LAX, due to land on store shelves June 24th. (As of presstime the site only had a frontpage up and there is no telling if this will be a social network or just a website to promo his upcoming project.)
Coinciding with a cover story this month in Fast Company, Ning, the social network platform that plays hosts to customized social-network sites such as Thisis50 and The Urban Blogger, has just announced it has secured $60 million in its fourth round of funding raising its value to half a billion dollars. The funding is in response to their rapid growth rate. The CEO Mark Andreesen is reporting that they are including 1,000 new sites on their network a day and they are home to over 230,000 sites at presstime. In a nod to the strength of Hip Hop, they are openly acknowledging that Thisis50 is their most famous social hub. Makes you wonder if Curtis has any stock in this company. Also noted was their need to secure funding in case of financial uncertainty this winter, in light of the pending recession.
Reuters ran a thorough expose on the social networking phenom, citing the inclusion of superstars like 50 Cent who have created their own networks via Ning. Even though artists maintain healthy followings via Myspace and Facebook, they don’t have access to the most vital aspect of their following, the fans email. With sensitive data like email and demographics, a social networking site can then be monetized by commercializing access to advertisers.
Identified as “next-generation” fan and web sites, social networks are becoming hubs where artists can not only have an intimate connection with their fanbase but they can also directly market to them, effectively excluding the middleman. Now portals such as Facebook and Myspace are looked at as “funnels” which help strengthen the membership on personalized social networks, like the Ning supported Thisis50.
Gina Bianchini, CEO of Ning summed it up best when she said, “They take and use services where they don’t know the users, don’t have access and don’t have full control, and funnel those fans to something they do control.”
Ludacris, the Pussycat Dolls and Ice Cube are cited as artist that have jumped on the bandwagon early and cemented their spots in the blossoming social network field. Ice Cube’s venture, UVNTV is a slightly different service, that allows its members to host their own TV channel. That service, which includes Snoop and Cube amongst its content providers, will be up and running by January 2009. CLICK HERE to read this informative piece on why social networking is the wave of the future. Get familiar, knowledge is power!