Thursday, 7 May 2009

Social networking: place your bets

Fresh out of the rumour mill comes the suggestion that Apple may be about to make a $700 million bid for Twitter. If so, this will be just one more example of big corporates gobbling up social media brands months after they hit mainstream.

Brand Republic has the Apple speculation but also carries an earlier feature on the rapid evolutionary model of social networks. The life cycle from cult secret to something grabbed by suits is short. Early adopters are the honey bees of digital innovation. But they move on quickly and developers need to lock down a business model which sucks in cash before the promiscuous early adopters fly on to the next big thing.

This fast turnover also makes social media a slippery prospect for PR practitioners eager as ever to pin down audiences and establish reliable connections. That whole model of predict, plan and provide seems hopelessly behind the pace.

Dismissing Facebook and Twitter as old news, Brand Republic offers six of the "hottest new social media sites and what they offer for advertisers." One is Spotify, a well-used fixture in our house. I also like the idea of 'Elements', a Twitter-like network but for pictures.

Which one do you like? Hurry, they may already be bought and out of time.

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