Edging Out the Competition or Homogenizing Social Media?

Last week Facebook tried to capitalize on the location based mobile craze by unveiling Facebook places. This week MySpace is trying to recover from losing you to Facebook by launching an application similar to its sync for twitter app launched last year. With Facebook sync for MySpace, you can now update your Facebook status from your MySpace page – but not the other way around. Even though the powers that be at MySpace claim to be bringing two-way sync between the sites to us in the near future, what would Facebook gain from this scenario? Not much.

While it seems that there is a lot of dove-tailing going on between social media systems, in reality, consumers are using them for different purposes. Foursquare users seem to be more focused on the game and most have a smaller, intimate set of connections. Many Foursquare users claim that Facebook Places is not intimate enough. Facebook Places users already have a built in network of friends numbering in the hundreds or thousands. Do you really want your 6th grade classmates, whom you haven’t spoken with for years, to know that you just checked in to Starbucks?  Even though Places offers a new mobility to Facebook, creating interesting conversations around check-in points, Foursquare users will probably stay put or use Facebook Places for a different reason.

Every form of social media on the internet should not be all things to all people. With all of Google’s latest acquisitions in the social media realm it looks like many small start-ups may get swallowed up by the big guys. But consumers choose their social media wisely, becoming savvier every day. They use different apps for different reasons, and communicate in different ways for each. This is why your LinkedIn professional relationships should not necessarily be linked or synced to your Facebook profile. Certain applications do make it convenient to handle multiple platforms at once, just remember that sometimes it’s good to keep them separated.

With such an amazing variety of social applications available, marketers will need to develop various niche marketing strategies under the umbrella of a greater social media marketing policy. Research new forms of social media and find out where the best places are for you to be. The idea is to have a handle on social media before it has a handle on you.

Here are some good places to start researching social strategies:

http://mashable.com/2010/01/14/social-media-strategy-needs/

http://www.viperchill.com/social-media-strategy/

http://www.socialmediaexaminer.com/interview-andy-sernovitz/#more-4903

http://www.pcworld.com/businesscenter/article/203861/Facebook_places_vs_foursquare_who_has_the_business_edge.html

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One Response to Edging Out the Competition or Homogenizing Social Media?

  1. Dan says:

    There are good points here. With the launch of Facebook Places August 18, there has been much debate over the fate of the preexisting Foursquare. Many journalists and bloggers began to dub Facebook Places as death for many location based apps such as Foursquare. Those at the top at Foursquare don’t seem concerned with the new competition. Foursquare and other geo-location companies such as Yelp and Gowalla sent representatives to the launch of Places showing a somewhat healthy relationship between competitors. These three services are the only apps that have access to the Write and Search API’s that allow users to check in with Facebook places through the other apps simultaneously.
    This past weekend Foursquare hit the three million million mark in users, which is approximately a 28% increase from July to August. The main speculation for this dramatic increase is that the launch of Facebook Places increased awareness of geo-location apps.
    Many people will embrace the new Facebook Places; however to paraphrase Mark Twain, reports of the death of Foursquare have been greatly exaggerated. Although the number of members on Foursquare may seem small compared to 500 million Facebook members, Foursquare was there first to capture the hearts of those interested in geo-location connecting.
    I believe Foursquare will be able to survive, mostly because of the different values of the applications. Facebook’s main emphasis is to connect people through a social network while Foursquare puts more emphasis on the location gaming embedded within it which creates an incentive to check in more than merely tracking friends. When you check in with Foursquare you receive points, badges, and can even become mayor of favorite locations. These incentives evoke emotional benefits that Facebook Places has not yet embraced.
    Foursquare will survive initially, but the further development and spread of Facebook places will eventually overshadow Foursquare and other geo-location apps. If the trend continues, it’s not impossible to imagine most socially based apps becoming a part of the interactive super-giant. While many applications may keep their name and identity, many of them, including games, shopping, and social will be incorporated into Facebook.

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