Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Transformative Impact of Social Network Services

For the public, the motivation to use social network services such as FaceBook fundamentally comes down to “seeking and sharing.” It is all about social currency and our participation in real or aspirational social groupings so as to maintain and advance our standing. This is a fundamental human need, a driver that makes social life possible.

For advertisers, FaceBook and other social network services present the opportunity to move beyond the long-standing practice of viewing “the media” as the primary "attention structures" in which to purchase time and space. Now, sellers of products and services can place their information directly in the midst of the everyday cultural conversation where social life takes place.

This transformation in the social location of commercial speech also involves time acceleration. In the Internet Age, the traditional concept of rumor (or news) spreads at the speed of light, and we call the fastest of them “virals.”

The concept of location is changing, too. Once, traditional banners could be thought of as billboards placed in strategic locations on the information super highway. Now what matters is the real-time, real-life location of individual members of the public. Anything connected to us electronically can respond to us based on where we are at the moment.

So, commercial speech not only takes place more naturalistically in the midst of everyday conversation, it can now know where we are and therefore speak with even greater relevance to our momentary interests.

The medium is no longer just the message. Importantly, in this world, "messages create the media."

Copyright © 2010 by John Eighmey. All Rights Reserved.

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