"A brand is no longer what we tell the consumer it is – it is what consumers tell each other it is." - Scott Cook, co-founder, Intuit
"Our head of social media is the customer." - Unknown spokesperson, McDonald's
These social media adages are scary enough to give any CMO the chills. The lifeblood of online marketing before the Age of the Consumer has centered around control – of brand, user experience, messaging, conversations. Marketers have been told countless times over the last few years that social meant the end of control. You were told that no longer would your users linger on your carefully manicured website, absorbing your delicately crafted messaging as they click on products and articles. You were told that consumers now had the power, and, in some ways, that has become the reality. But that's not the whole story. Social business has evolved to the point to where marketers are taking back their brands and, by using social infrastructure, they are reaching, understanding and influencing their customers like never before.
Eventster, the iOS app which aggregates events across North America and Europe, is rolling out a big update today which it hopes will further differentiate its event listings application from numerous competitors. The update uses semantic technologies to guess at the relevant keywords surrounding an event in order to integrate social media postings from Twitter, YouTube and Instagram in real-time alongside the listing.
Co-founder Luke Stangel describes this feature as "ambient social," but that moniker reminds us of the trendy apps which emerged during this year's SXSW event in Austin, like Highlight, Glancee, Banjo and others. Those were focused on connecting people for networking purposes, but Eventster justwants to help spice up plain old event listings, which are often kind of dry, with more engaging content.
There's been a lot of virtual ink spilled lately about how Twitter has been flexing its platform muscles by cracking down on the use of its API and—some argue— squeezing the life out of its ecosystem. It's worth noting, though, that Facebook (FB) is not above throwing its weight around, too. Developer and entrepreneur Dalton Caldwell has written an enlightening tale about a meeting he had with the company's platform-and-partnerships team, in which he says Facebook basically threatened to destroy his startup if he didn't agree to sell it. While social networks such as Twitter and Facebook may be relatively new, the struggle over control vs. openness when it comes to platforms is as old as technology itself.
"Give me an API or give me death." —Patrick Henry, in defense of developers everywhere
Last month a developer named Dalton Caldwell announced what he described as "an audacious proposal": an ad-free Twitter.Outside of the tech industry fish bowl, Caldwell's proposal didn't get much attention. Twitter ads aren't number one on most people's list of gripes.
Facebook's Big Challenge: Building A Stable Platform For Developers While Maintaining User Experience
Today at The TC CrunchUp at the Fox Theater in Redwood City, a group of founders and entrepreneurs took the stage to talk about the future of Facebook's platform, where it's been and where it's going as a result. Although the company's stock has been limping of late, Facebook continues to be impossible to ignore — by the end of June, for example, the platform was seeing 955 million monthly active users, with 81 percent of those coming from outside the U.S., and more than 230 million people playing games on Facebook.com every month.
Although it may seem like Facebook has plenty on their plate in terms of stock downturns, ad monetization strategies and more, Facebook Director of Product Management Doug Purdy said that a big challenge facing Facebook today is building a solid and stable platform for third-party developers via its APIs.
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