This past week, Google unveiled its new application, “Google Wave” which will be released later this year. (To see the presentation of Wave by Google, click below.)
Wave at once makes communication and collaboration easier and makes it more personal. Think of it as combining the intimacy of e-mail and chat-rooms with the malleability of wikis and organization of Flickr or Facebook.
In an interesting post by Mitch Joel of twistimage.com, the fact that the Wave is a more personal form of social media may require marketers to rethink (again) how to approach social media. What might count is not the quantity of links, friends or followers (sorry Ashton), but the quantity of the relationships. The key for marketers (or organizations), therefore, is not to focus on broadcast social media (getting on all media, measuring numbers of unique links/friends/followers) but to focus on micro social media, smaller disparate groups bounded by strong trust. Think Tara Hunt’s whuffie factor or soup metrics.
The question is, what metrics do you therefore us to define success? If we’re focused on the quality of the relationship more than the quantity of the relationship, perhaps we should focus on repeat visits more than unique visitors. If Person A has 20 friends that she speaks to, but they don’t speak back and Person B has 5 friends, but they all speak back to her on multiple occasions, which person do you want to market to? Conversely, if you are a business, how much time and money do you want to spend expanding your universe rather than engaging the clients you currently have and let them talk about you (or invite you) to their friends.
I initially thought that the beauty of social media was that you could scale conversations from the living room to the stadium, that you can extend yourself to the world. Regardless of what new technology is out there, I think, however, that the beauty of social media is to enable us to create rich, engaging “living room” experiences with a discrete group of trusted individuals (and, perhaps, firms) regardless of setting.
Think micro-social and the whole world might not be yours. However, the world that is important — your world — might be.