Applying Social Technologies – Part 1

How publishers and advertisers can use Facebook Connect, MySpaceID, Sign in with Twitter and OpenID to Increase Registrations, Traffic and Engagement

Social networks and features, from Facebook and Twitter to activity feeds and status updates, have changed forever how consumers use the Web, challenging publishers and advertisers with “destination” websites to find ways to remain relevant to core users as well as engage and grow new audiences. Rather than a challenge of content innovation, the challenge instead centers on how to improve user experience in light of how people are using the web today. From News to eCommerce to Entertainment, almost any site can better engage and grow its audience by creating a user-centric and social experience, one that makes use of newly available technologies to enable a more accessible, personalized, engaging and ultimately shareable experience.

If you have a website and want to better understand Facebook Connect, MySpaceID, Social Login with Twitter and OpenID; why it makes sense to add authentication and social functionality using these providers; or how new services can help simplify the implementation and management process, this series is for you. From increasing user registrations to enabling rich social features, many tools and services are available today to help publishers successfully evolve their user experience. This blog series will touch on the key trends dictating this evolution; introduce, define and provide guidelines for using the key social technologies available today; show case-study examples of how industry leaders are already using these technologies to redefine what it means to provide a great user experience on the web; and show how new services can make implementation easier than ever.

Few today doubt the pervasiveness and influence of social networks and other participatory social media. Participation has reached not only new highs but new levels of engagement. According to comScore , more than one billion people worldwide are using social networks. A recent Forrester Research study found that 75% of U.S. online adults participated in social media in some way in 2008, up from 56% in 2007, with increased participation in every category measured: from creating content to commenting to sharing. Beyond sheer participation, several specific trends are forcing publishers to rethink how they can not only survive but thrive in this new internet landscape:

  • Content goes portable, users are in control – YouTube innovated by making videos portable, providing users with code they could paste directly into their MySpace profile. Now publishers from the New York Times to Electronic Arts are making their content portable via these widgets, RSS feeds and other formats. On their profile pages, start pages, and blogs, users are now consuming content how and where they want it.
  • Everything is better with friends – Facebook and Twitter demonstrated that knowing what your friends are reading, watching, saying, and thinking, is both compelling and influential. Friends’ comments or tweets are de facto recommendations which let others know what to embrace and what to avoid. Additionally, friends make the web more fun.
  • Newsfeeds revolutionize content discovery – In the early days of the Internet, editors at the major portals helped users discover new web content. Then search engines applied the wisdom of the crowd to help users find what they are looking for. Now newsfeeds are a primary way that people discover new web content; by reading about what their friends, and friends of friends, are doing and recommending online.
  • Identity is user-centric – Users suffering from registration fatigue are finding that more often than not they can avoid recreating accounts. Instead, they can take their online identity with them via one of many identity providers, from their social network to their webmail account, and use it to sign in to their favorite sites.

Read Part 2 in Next Monday’s Post:

By gigya