Weekly Digest of the Social Networking Space: April 12, 2009


I’m respecting your limited time by publishing this weekly digest on the Social Networking space, which I cover as an industry analyst. By creating this digest (I started this over a year ago) it really helps me to stay on top of the space I cover.

I used to publish these on Wednesday, but now I’m spending more quiet time on the weekend reflecting on this fast moving space, do you know of any other industries that have this much movement?

I’ve created a new category called Digest (view archives). Start with the Web Strategy Summary, then quickly scan the succinct and categorized headlines, read text for my take, and click link to dive in for more.

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Web Strategy Summary
It’s interesting to watch the bridges being drawn between the different players moving into the social space, such as Webtrends partnering with Radian 6 to offer a social media offering to traditional web analytics customers. Secondly, there’s reports of growth in a variety of areas of Facebook, Twitter, and Chinese social networks. Finally, more mobile devices and deployments are occurring, as Sony’s latest phone comes pre-installed with Facebook, and SalesForce offers a mobile version.

Partnerships: Webtrends and Radian 6. Social monitoring meets web analytics
Webtrends is now offering the Radian 6 package in a co-branded solution. It makes sense for Webtrends to partner to quickly get out the door as brand managers are in current need to monitor the social web. I’ll be watching the other analytics players to see how they respond. Expect to see more partnerships between vendors in brand monitoring, web analytics, CRM, CMS as they connect with the social web.

Global: Chinese social networks get more traction –and revenue
Chinese developers have long since copied social networks like Facebook and MySpace, yet the twist is, their generating revenue from a far larger consumer base than the US. As a result, we’re seeing some interesting stories of successful apps and social networks (like Farming) emerge like QQ, 51, and Baidu.

Storage: Facebook creates storage ‘Haystack’ to manage photos
With more photos than even some dedicated photo websites, Facebook needs a way to quickly serve up photos, as a result they created ‘haystack’ which is 50% faster than traditional systems. Niall has a more detailed look at how this storage system works, the backend servers are powered by NetApp. (update: Niall points out that Haystack is designed to reduce reliance on NetApp servers)

Culture: Britney Spears trumps Obama –at least in Twitter
With the rise of celebrities joining Twitter, it’s interesting to note the original power geeks have had to share the spotlight with mainstream celebrities. Perhaps on a note of what the world really cares about, Britney Spears now has more followers than the non-tweeting Obama. The one to watch? Ashton is quickly moving up the ranks, with 800k followers.

Mobile: Facebook to come pre-installed on Sony Ericsson mobile devices
Sony’s C510 phone will come pre-installed with Facebook on it’s latest phones. What impacts could this bring? In the near future, people could dial their contacts from their Facebook address, or contact them through IP phones.

CRM: SalesForce goes mobile
I’ve my eye on CRMs as they get closer to the social web (or as Paul Greenberg would suggest, the other way around) as SalesForce launches a mobile version to allow sales, account, and support teams to support customers on the go. Imagine meeting someone in real life, and watch as they update their account on your interaction. “Firm handshake, check. Lack of eye contact, requires followup”

Revenues: Facebook financial breakdown
This Forbes article breaks down the cost per users, and advertising per user, and reflects on the overall financial viability of Facebook. BusinessWeek asks if Facebook’s future plan involves premium memberships, and Facebook continues to focus on advertising.

Stats: Twitter Growth and Demographics
While we already know that Twitter is quickly growing, it’s important to see by who. This Cnet article states that; “ComScore also reported this week that 10 percent of Twitter users are between 55 and 64. That’s the same percentage as are between 18 and 24. In fact, the majority of Twitter users are 35 or older. And here’s Reuters telling us that 18- to 24-year-olds are 12 percent less likely than average to visit Twitter.”

Stats: Facebook continues to grow
Facebook continues to to grow, and Inside Facebook suggests that in the last 2 months, US membership has doubled, with a spur in an older crowd of 35-44. I suspect that Gen Y and X is nearly saturated in US, thus we’re seeing other age groups grow.

Culture: Twitter used for nefarious purposes
Dangers of the internet? Do we blame the people or the tools? Apparently Twitter is being used for prostitution, police to crack down from this mobile social network and microblog.

Submit: I’m listening. If you’re a social network, or widget company, I want to know of your news, send me an email, or leave a comment below. Help me stay up to date but first, read how to score your announcements.

Hungry For Social Networking Stats? Then you should see my collection of Social Networks Stats for 2008 and 2009. Bookmark them, then share it with others as I continue to update it.