Few (random) thoughts on Social media- Using C.L.A.W principle
C.L.A.W - stands for Crude Look at whole. It's a term coined by physicist Murray Gell-Mann.
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The current stage of social media tells us what, how, where, but fails to answer Why? It also fails (at least partly) to combine WWH to answer why?
I believe that social media is the fabric necessary to make search sensible. It's the layer that underlies semantic web. Consider how search works. I want to search for the latest android phone available in Bangalore. I key in the words & I see a list of links that lead me to a page where I might find the information I am looking for. Else I go back to the results and open a new page. Basically the pages are ranked by relevance calculated by keywords and importance calculated by referrals. However when we put the social layer on top of search we might see results which are in this form:
- Two of my friends bought a new android phone from shop x in Bangalore and this is what their social stream (twitter, FB) says about the phone.
- Or they are saying the latest offering is no good wait for another model that's going to be launched in December
I believe that collective knowledge system is necessary but not a sufficient decision support engine. As the amount of information rises, it will become more essential to move towards a system that understands us and helps us choose. A system that segments the information thrown at us as soon as the day starts.
Another important point is how will the traditional advertising driven reward system change when most of us start using technology that understands us, not only by our connections & choices but by constantly learning about us. Advertising bets on the assumption that we want the stuff we are looking at or would want something we are shown. So targeted advertising bets on our ability to buy something that is relevant to our current environment. Environment here is defined as what is in front of us , what is being shown to us by the medium via which we are experiencing the world at that particular instant. But this is a loose model. As it doesn't represent whether I am even in the mood to buy or even look at that portion of the screen where the ad is being displayed. There are other errors with this model. For e.g. if i am reading the news of a car accident, the last thing I want to see in front of me is a car advertisement. Hence my behavior against the medium is not solely controlled by my choice to interact with it & so it is a vague indicator of my choice.
There are two parameters that add relevance to the connection.
- My offline environment
So this model uses targeted advertising derived from:
- Impulse shopping tendency- people tend to buy it as long as it's hot
- My Social fabric- likes, interests, recommendations, exposure
From the medium's perspective, how should I trend memes so that the user is encouraged to make a move? How relevant is it as per his current environment (defined above).Should this meme represent my ecosystem or sense the web as per user's social profile? Is the user more likely to buy the latest issue of Mr. Rushdie's book if the user is near a book store and an important event just happened in Mr. Rushdie's life? As this won't necessarily translate into similar behavior for user's connections, if the user finally buys the book and likes it, should the system be rewarded/promoted for this connection? An analogy will be Devesh, 5 of your friends have tried friend finder. Give it a try? In this case , Devesh 5 of your friends have made likeable purchases using our product finder , would you like to give it a try?
I think the next step is to envision a complete transaction and contrast it with the 360 degree process of attract, engage, sell, retain & use for promotion. Also need to put some maths into this process.