Weekly Digest of the Social Networking Space: Nov 28, 2007

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Web Strategy Summary
I’m starting to hear of OpenSocial creep into strategies of many brands, including companies that are briefing me. Privacy continues to be a major concern as users feel uncomfortable with how their data is being used, expect this backlash to continue as marketing becomes more personal. Money is starting to trickle into this space, from IPOs of older and existing social networks.


Trends: The social web with the Giant Global Graph
Tim Berners Lee in his latest blog post, supports the Giant Global Graph (GGG), which suggests that what’s really important on the web isn’t documents or the data, but the relationships and people and topics that we’re interacting with. As we evolve and shift to the socialized web, we should expect to share content with peers online.

Privacy: Beacon cause concern, backlash forming
Colleague Charlene pointed out to me last week that she’s seeing how Beacon can really expose personal information to her online network –without her expressed consent. The problem may not be entirely on Facebook’s shoulders, as the third party companies that are partnered with this social selling program should be held accountable by allowing the service to be opt-in, and not opt-out. Respect of users is critical for success.

NewsFeed: MySpace to replicate Newsfeed –a nod to OpenSocial
In order for viral apps to spread among a community the newsfeed has been invaluable at Facebook. No surprise that MySpace appears to be gearing up to launch the same feature, giving developers in the upcoming OpenSocial movement an opportunity to quickly share.

Money: Classmates.com early Social Network to IPO
One of the oldest with a strong hold with baby boomers in North America is going to have an IPO –a rare exit strategy for web companies. They’re looking at a total 12M Class a Shares and Price at $10 to $12 Each. So that means a total an estimate of about $117.7 million after fees and expenses.

Advertising: China’s Alibaba seeks monetization
This recently IPO’d SMB online marketplace Social Network launched web advertising products. Alibaba, which calls this product Alimama (which has been tested) will have ties to blog advertising.

Performance: Yahoo 360 reliable, MSN Spaces not so much
With users spending an average of 20 minutes on some social networks, the need for dedicated website uptime is critical –especially when you’ve got paying advertisers or customers. This list compiles which websites have the best performance, where Yahoo 360 (an unremarkable social network) is followed by Facebook to lead the pack. MSN Spaces suffers from the most downtime.

Talent: Facebook is the “Cool” company
I live very closer to Facebook, and can drive to Google, and have friends working at both. While Google is still clearly the established leader, there’s been a few rumors being discussed as Facebook as the “hot” company to work for, and talent leaves. With Google’s stock prices being so high, many who join are interested in the great culture, and amenities, but the promise of ‘cashing out’ still is the desire for many Facebook employees.

Stats: LinkedIn and Facebook have largest growth
Take a look at the growth percent numbers of Facebook and Linkedin, both are way above the 150% mark. Myspace has single digit growth, but has an established foothold with a large audience. The other to watch? Disney’s club penguin, with small numbers, has over 150% growth.

Privacy: Youth not sensible, Political Crackdowns
Many of today’s youths are putting tremendous amount of personal information online without giving thought to future employers, colleges, fraudsters and the malicious. BBC explores the alarming trend of youth an their online footprint precedes their reputation. In a somewhat similar situation, the government of Syria is using information within social networks to track criminals –digital finger prints may just be easier to track.

Demographics: Facebook mainly women, US, UK, Canada
Great data here, this graph (click on image to see full size) indicates a breakdown of self-identified Facebook users, most from US, UK, Canada, and a majority are female. It would be great if the graph could further break down ‘penetration’ by country, so we can see which countries have the highest adoption rates.

Although I’ve been doing this digest for a while, I’ve recently become an analyst covering this space, so I need to know what’s happening. If I missed any stories (or if your company is doing something cool in this space) leave a comment.

Need to know more? Here’s 10 Web Strategy articles I wish you would read.