Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Virtual Life - Real Opportunity

Virtual gaming has morphed into a cultural trend to an online world where you can take on a second persona, and not only play games, but have 'real' businesses, with real money. Second life which has grown from 20,ooo users to 170,000 users in about a year, in an amazing social phenomenon. There are actually people making real world money in there (the exchange rate is about 300 linden dollars, the second life currency to 1 US dollar). If people can have virtual lives, and virtual businesses, it then begs the question - what about virtual advertising for those businesses within the SecondLife world? I then start to think about possibilities for current online services. Why couldn't you take that same service, and apply it to virtual customers within the game. Is a virtual avatar (that is associated to a real person) any less real than a real-world virtual user? You could build buyer profiles off them, and offer them similar products that you would offer real people, except it would be based on the wants, needs and habits of the avatar rather than the real world user.

Check out this new article in Business week entitled My Virtual life for more insight into SecondLife.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

The business of Social Networking

What was once thought of as a fad, is now proving to have some staying power. Sites such as MySpace and Facebook are showing with their large user base and investment funding that the phenomenon will be around for some time to come. Advertisers are also starting to shift their thinking on how to utilize these sites to their advantage. Check out Socializing for Dollars. Most of these sites however are mostly about meeting people, making friends, trying to show how cool you are, fitting in, and just finding yourself and your place in the world. We are social beings and this concept definitely has it place, but how can or will this trend or model transfer into the business world? Linkedin, and Simplyhired take the concept of social networking and put it to work in a business application, but I feel that this is just scratching the surface as to where we could go to create social networking applications that can actually drive economic progress inside company walls as well as the business community in general. Plus, think about the the MySpace generation as it (eventually) grows up and enters the workforce. Applications that use the social networking model should be adopted easily, as long as it increases productivity, and not just killing time at work.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Mind B(l)oggling

Most people would agree that blogging has definitely reached mainstream pop culture, and is getting to be just yet another communication channel in the new internet era, but take a look at these stats on the current state of the 'blogsphere'. For example the blogsphere is 60 times larger than it was 3 years ago, doubling every 3 months with 75,000 new blogs created each day. These numbers are staggering, but how much of it is new, worthwhile (relative) content, and how do you filter through to find what you need. It just points towards more need for even more advanced content and information filtering, and tagging tools to help us wade through the sea of information and find those gold nuggets that are hidden out there in all the silt. The difference with this too is that what is gold to one person is plain rock to another.
Another set of numbers they had in this report was a chart of daily posting volumes mapped to current events. It was amazing to see the correlations between the two and how some events generated greater flurry than others.