Quick… what is Pinterest and why should you be using it? Social media is a maddening hairball of too-many-moving-parts complexity for many marketers today. How can we possibly establish and maintain profiles/friends in the ever increasing number of distinct social platforms? Posting, tweeting, liking, circling, tumbling, linking, and now… pinning. For those of you keeping score at home, here is a handy cheat sheet, via Three Ships Media, that’s been making the web rounds.
Finding Your Audience, Influence, Search Engine Gravity
Why are we doing this again? Sometimes, it’s easy to forget that we’re trying to provide useful information to our target audience that endears them to us and indirectly creates search engine gravity (seo) that causes people to come to our website for solutions to their problems. Anyway, I think that’s the answer.
Future of Social Media Marketing
But where does it end? What is the future of social media marketing? Do we simply join/engage every social network that cracks the 10 million user barrier… Pinterest being the latest? In the short term, unfortunately, the answer is probably “yes”. After all, you go where your folks are and, if they’re on Pinterest, you at least have to check it out.
In the long term this proliferation of social memberships has to stop — things are going to break. When things break, models evolve and opportunities shift. In the case of social media evolution, things have to consolidate and centralize. But probably not in the way Facebook or Google wants. Not in any single uber social network that crushes all the others.
Personal Data Clouds and APIs
Today, we have separate profiles and datasets that live inside each of the social networks we join. In the spirit of the whiteboard cheatsheet above, here is how it looks.
The networks above are drawn “connected” for a reason. What’s changed in the last year or so is identity authentication/validation via another social network membership account. To wit, if you finagle a Pinterest invite, the ONLY way to sign up is via your Facebook or Twitter account.
In the near future, online identity will evolve another step further. You will authenticate/validate from your personal data cloud… vault… locker… whatever you want to call it. We will have personal data clouds where all of our unique profile information lives. A single place for all of our likes, dislikes, contacts/friends, attention data, account info, etc. You will then extend access to that data to… everything. Your data will be accessed by social networks, ad networks, payments, mobile, healthcare… you get the picture.
This is not a new idea, but the technology and momentum to get it done from groups like the personal data ecosystem consortium (ID Collaboration Day meeting in San Francisco on Feb 27th – personal data ecosystem whitepaper) and companies like Singly (the locker project) are finally bringing it to reality.
It’s My Data
Need more proof? The villagers are getting restless and grabbing their pitch forks. This week there were two examples just thinking off the top of my head.
- The privacy brouhaha started by Path and ended by Google regarding Apple’s iOS platform.
- The realization of many people that Facebook is getting rich off their personal data and not cutting them in for a piece of the IPO pie.
So, relief from multi-membership-profile-mania is on the horizon… just be patient. Think about the craziness that ensues when users begin to control their data… influence… relationships… search engines… advertising… it’s going to be good fun.
In the meantime, get that Pinterest membership invite and start pinning my friend!