The Future of Social Advertising? MySpace and Citysearch jointly announce "MySpace Local"Social media, especially social networing sites like MySpace, started as an deluxe online forum or bulletin board and just took those concepts to the next level. They are based on the concept that people went online with aliases and met and interacted with other people online. It was all about the cyber-world, not about the real world.
While MySpace has been trying to become the social entertainment capital of the net, Facebook (and now Twitter) has seen lightening growth based on a different model - the real world. People of an older generation, more practical people, and teens (it seems like just about everyone who's not a geek) have embraced the concept of using their real name and their real connections to real friends, real networks, real businesses, real schools and are voting with their mice and signing up in droves. It's the online version of you, rather than an online avatar or what you wish you were.
MySpace, because you don't have to be you, is anchored in a previous era (6 years is an era?) and just wasn't built on that real-world network of connections...of course you can add friends, of course you can indicate your hobbies, of course you can use your real name, but you can also be friends with pretenders, rockers, and movie stars and parts of cyberspace groups. The premise of Facebook is you are somehow validated as really being who you say you are. It's not a virtual world or bazaar, it's a representation of a person's real life, something that I daresay more people are comfortable with.
Where am I going? I think MySpace has made a move in the right direction - to the real world. They just announced a partnership and integration with CitySearch to enable the combination of social commentary on the real world listings and information of a very comprehensive contained in the CitySearch yellow pages. And your interaction with these listings will show up in your activity feed - letting others know immediately what you like, what you don't, what you recommend. It's a pre-cataloged slice of Twitter - talking about your preferences when it comes to activities, restaurants, hotels - without the inundating stream of consciousness of Twitter. A practical application - and what could be a model for social advertising. This isn't what page I joined or whom I'm a fan of, this is me and my experience recorded around a real thing, a real place, a real preference.
I really like the concept - I hope it's one of many steps in this direction that MySpace takes to become relevant again.