I was just invited to use aardvark, a match making service for questions and answers using instant messenger. It lets you tap into the expertise of the friends of your friends. I think the results speak for themselves. Here’s the transcript to my first question:
My Question: “Do you know of any applications of facebook connect that have ‘gone viral’?”
Kelly: here’s a list of all of the implementations: http://wiki.developers.facebook.com/index.php/Facebook_Connect_Live_Sites
the geni.com implementation is really cool
Citysearch has shared that users voluntarily publish 94% of their reviews back to Facebook
and most Connect implementations have a publish-to-click ratio of 0.8 to 2.0 (meaning, for every story a user sends to FB, approximately 0.8 to 2 people go back to the original site)
Kelly is a manager who works at Facebook, and I got these statistics from inside the Facebook connect team–within 3-4 minutes of asking. Sweet!
And so today, I returned the favor. I was asked to answer a question about “education”. I was skeptical at first, but I firgured, hey let’s give it a whirl. Here’s the transcript of that conversation:
Niko: Who is passionate in New York about educational technology? or online tutoring? Me: One company I know about is called imentor
I learned about imentor through a board member, Matt Klein, who is also the ED of Blue Ridge Foundation. Niko: Blue Ridge Foundation is just what I was looking for. Their portfolio companies are a godsend to the community. I’m a student at Columbia/Harvard. Would Matt Klein be the best person to talk to regarding the vision of the firm? Me:I met Matt Klein very briefly in a large conference. He seemed very knowledgable and nice – I would think you could approach him directly. Niko: Thanks a million. This aardvark thing may just be a huge hit.
I agree – aardvark is amazing. I have 9 more invitations – post a comment with your email and include three topics that you are knowledgeable about and I’ll send you an invitation. Cheers!
Mary Meekers slides usefully put a lot of economic data in usable form. Since a lot of it is generic economic trends (well-organized but not novel), I’d like to comment on a few of the more interesting slides on the trends in digital business. Here are some interesting questions that her slides raised for me:
Slide 54: Social networks have lowish penetration (<40%), but super high growth (>50%)
Slide 62: Social networks have “the opportunity to get in the middle of the conversation”. This insight resonates with my past research on SNs.
Slide 78: Implicit question: what will the social advertising eCPMs be if the Internet average is $1.98?
Slide 82: Implicit question: to answer the previous question, we have to know how EFFECTIVE a social ad will be. Will social ads be better, similar or worse than the top kinds of ads: paid search engine ads, organic SEO and email marketing?
Slide 85-86: Are display, clicks or performance-based models for advertising most appropriate for social ads?
Slide 87: What products will be most promising to target for social ads?
Slide 108-115: Can social ads be used as effective strategy to enter new international markets?
Finally, I think that these slides show that the recession will accelerate the shift from offline to online advertiser and commerce. If social advertising can be shown to be effective, it will likely see rapid adoption despite being new.
Nathaniel and I just had breakfast with John McCrea of Plaxo. His thesis: Facebook is the AOL of the social internet. The key similarities: both Facebook and AOL were walled gardens in their early days. Since the open Internet eventually beat the walled garden Internet, he concludes that Facebook must continue to open up, radically, or face a similar fate as AOL.
I think that the analogy has some validity. Yet, there are important differences. As I pointed out in our conversation, social relationships can generate interactions and collaborative artifacts among people. Who controls those things? There is no analogy for these social interactions and artifacts on the traditional client/server Internet.
So, cruise on over to his blog to follow an advocate of the open social Internet. And time will tell if his bold prediction comes to pass!