“Friendformation” vs. Information

A Meeting of the Minds:

I was invited to be on a panel discussion today at the New Media Dayton monthly event.  A monthly gathering for those interested in media, marketing and social media.  The topic was “trends to look for in 2011” and I was asked to be with other social media and marketing geniuses (I was honored just to be on stage with them).  We started a discussion that I want to continue here.

All Hail King Google:

I’ve been noticing a shift in trends in 2010 and look to see an increase in the coming years over a potential “battle royale”.  Over the past several years we’ve seen the rise of the mighty Google.  I Google everything: questions, spelling, directions, information, events, recipes and more.  Google was built by extremely smart engineers who have a secret algorithm that gives priority to fresh and relevant content.  But, adding regular content like: blogging, news, updates and information will greatly help you as it is captured by Google and you get higher rankings.  Having video on your site is huge too…find out more here.  Google relies on how many times people use your site and how many sites are linked to yours.  This can be good and bad.  It can be good in that you might get a lot of “hits” to your website because of a promo you run.  It can be bad because while you may get a hundreds of visitors to your website, they might not translate into customers or people who return to your site. While Google is extremely valuable still, it might be trending to something else.  Google has been king of search for a while and we have even called it, “the information age”…but a shift is coming.  I think we are heading into the “social age”.

Socially Acceptable:

In today’s discussion, the topic of marketing, information and the social component came up.  April Mescher of ZipSetGo.com made a comment about how everything is going social (social media with Youtube/Twitter/Facebook/LinkedIn, online check in through Foursquare, Groupon, etc).  She shared the term “Friendformation”, which got me thinking.   People are moving away from raw, impersonal data to personal recommendations on everything from which restaurant to eat at this weekend, to which vehicle to purchase.  We ask other friends and colleagues where to do business and and where not to do business.  I want to know what my friends thought of a movie or what others in the business community think of a new trend, rather than depending on the cold, hard statistics.  We all depend on personal connections…and this trend is growing.  We were created to be social in our interactions and this is coming out through social media.  Keep an eye out for the “Friendformation” vs Information battle (grab some popcorn, it could get interesting!).

The Great Divide:

Here is where the the shift happened.  Facebook, who has approx 500 million members, has decided not to open up their information to Google.  That means  that Google, the kings of information and mathematics, can’t comb through all the information that we share freely.  I believe that Facebook (along with other social media outlets) will be challenging the search engine and become something even greater.  A social search engine.

So how does your business use: Twitter, Facebook, Youtube, LinkedIn, Yelp, Foursqare, Moolala, Groupon, etc, etc?  Do you just depend on a static website that is 5 years old?  Do you engage your customers, clients, friends and relationships?  Yes, it can be intimidating since “times are a’ changing”, but the shift is happening.  Consider this your warning.

Agree, disagree?  What do you think?  Leave a comment and we can all chime in!  (which proves the social aspects that I’m talking about!)

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