The way we communicate with each other is being transformed by how we use the internet. I’m continuously fascinated as to how this online activity translates into real-world interaction and personal engagement. Earlier this year I watched a fascinating BBC 2 special – Virtual Revolution, about the social history of the World Wide Web. I encourage you to check it out. The woman behind the series is academic and journalist – Aleks Krotoski (photo). Her brilliant writings and blogs have me pondering a lot lately. I see artists, marketeers, digital experts and labels keenly focused on solving pieces of the social media mystery puzzle in order to reach wider audiences and translate those interactions into positive social commerce. How can you grow to a twitter fan base of tens of millions? Obviously, online networks are a booming success as hubs of influence in the new world order, allowing for independence, freedom, fearless creative expression, a vehicle for activism and, instant connectivity to a very large and willing audience. On one hand we want eyeballs to be online for as many hours in the day as possible, so we can reach our tribes, on the other hand, we hear parents wanting their children to spend more offline face time with them and their friends, not always attached to a device. Can we maintain a balance? How can we benefit society? Where is this all leading?

Aleks mentions in a recent article, published this month in the RSAJournal;

I grapple with the (in)ability of online social networks to support and produce real-world social action. I spent a lot of time on the arguments in this article, as it translated so much of my theoretical thinking to a more public audience: how can online social networks like Facebook and LinkedIn contribute to offline social capital? Does the online capital accrued through actions and identity development actually mean anything? How might the diffusion of responsibility, click-activism and social posturing found in online social networks thanks to their perpetuity, their first-person narratives of identity and their articulated friendship trees actually diffuse social action rather than facilitate it?”

As the industry explores its pioneering spirit to find innovation and artistic success within the structure of social commerce, we see these networks as living eco-systems, services, to essentially connect and support. Certain things we know to be true. We like to think that true artistry and supreme talent should prevail, should break through, should allow for successful subscription to the artists cause. Build it with integrity, and the money will follow. We also know its about timing and and whole lot of hard work and perseverance. We also know that things are changing, and we are naturally evolving and transforming along with innovation and new thinking.

I do agree with Dave Haynes of SoundCloud, that the industry should embrace developers and innovators. Some of the most creative initiatives I see these days, are coming from the developer sector working hand in hand with music mentors who embrace new thinking.

I just received this very interesting article in the WSJ on Social Commerce, which seems to be appropriate for this post;

Wall Street Journal on Social Commerce’s Tipping Point

Posted: 29 Sep 2010 12:00 AM PDT

A Wall Street Journal article by Scott Morrison is being widely re-tweeted around the Net “Facebook sees social commerce reaching tipping point”. It’s subscription only, but the article has been widely reposted, and archived below for your convenience. Top takeaways:

  • The 500m member social networking site, Facebook, is engaging in growing number of partnerships with online retailers, as social commerce becomes socially acceptable
  • Ethan Beard, who runs Facebook’s developer developer network, believes social commerce is “big and disruptive” and that it has reached an inflection point/Tipping Point and will surge over the next 12 months, growing the $133 billion US e-commerce market
  • In August, U.S. Internet users spent 41.1 billion minutes on Facebook, surpassing Google Inc.’s 39.8 billion minutes for the first time
  • “Facebook will be a top-three channel for all retailers within two or three years” says Scott Wingo, Chief Executive of ChannelAdvisor Corp
  • E-commerce incumbents such as eBay and Amazon will profit from Facebook-powered social commerce too through the deployment of Facebook’s social plugins (Amazon), and PayPal (eBay) which is widely used on Facebook stores
  • Since the first f-commerce store appeared a year ago (1-800-Flowers.com powered by Alvenda), some 30,000 merchants have set up shop on Facebook using Pavyment, just one of many f-commerce solution providers
  • A recent survey of 135 top retailers and consumer goods manufacturers by research firm Altimeter Group found 86% of respondents are preparing to launch some sort of social commerce strategy by 2011.
  • A first step in social commerce is to deploy Facebook social plugins on e-stores; children’s e-tailer Tea Collection used the Like button social plugin to allow users to vote on favorite items (traffic grew 300%, revenue rose 1000%)

So what to think about all the media hype around Facebook-powered social commerce at the moment?

First, we’d recommend caution against any irrational exuberance around the idea of f-commerce as a silver bullet for e-commerce innovation. We’re big fans of f-commerce, but think it’s still largely unproven and likely to work best when be integrated into an overall e-commerce strategy. Simply setting up a store on Facebook will not do, and will mean managing yet another channel.

Our feeling is that Facebook is a great e-commerce sandbox for experimenting with innovative live, event and social shopping solutions – like group buy, private buying clubs, VIP stores, and tryvertising stores at low cost, and low risk. Find out what works, and then port it to the e-commerce mothership. We also believe f-commerce is also a great solution for brands without a direct-to-consumer channel to get to know (and reward) their loyal customers and brand fans better.


Article: Retrieved 28 Sep, 2010, from http://online.wsj.com

Facebook sees social commerce reaching tipping point

By Scott Morrison,

Social networking site engaging in growing number of partnerships with online retailers.

Social commerce is becoming socially acceptable.

Over the past year, an explosion of stores on Facebook Inc. and the site’s growing number of partnerships with Internet retailers has propelled social commerce to an inflection point, says Ethan Beard, who runs the Web giant’s developer network. Over the next 12 months, Beard expects social shopping activity to surge as merchants look to leverage the site’s 500 million users.

“Social commerce will be big and disruptive,” Beard said in an interview with Dow Jones Newswires, referring to the use of social media tools and content–such as user profiles, customer ratings and reviews, user recommendations and wish lists–to make online shopping a more social experience.

The degree to which social shopping will impact established online retailers, such as Amazon.com Inc. and eBay Inc., is a subject of debate. In August, U.S. Internet users spent 41.1 billion minutes on Facebook, surpassing Google Inc.’s 39.8 billion minutes for the first time, according to comScore Inc.

“It’s inevitable that e-commerce and Facebook will overlap or collide,” said Scott Wingo, Chief Executive of ChannelAdvisor Corp., a software maker that helps merchants sell goods on Amazon and eBay.”Facebook will be a top-three channel for all retailers within two or three years.”

Beard said the U.S. e-commerce market, worth $133 billion last year, will continue to expand, providing ample opportunity for all competitors.

He argued that Facebook’s push into social commerce will benefit established online retailers that choose to partner with it. For example, Amazon already lets customers sign in through their Facebook accounts, enabling the retailer to make recommendations based on people’s profiles or remind shoppers of their friends’ birthdays.

Amazon declined to comment about Facebook when reached.

An eBay spokeswoman said the company will benefit from the growth of shopping via Facebook because its PayPal payments service is now used on the social network.

Google did not respond to a request for comment.

About a year ago, 1-800-Flowers.com Inc. opened the first Facebook store. Facebook won’t disclose how many companies have opened stores since then, but Payvment Inc., a third-party software provider, says it has helped more than 30,000 merchants establish sales channels on the site.

A recent survey of 135 top retailers and consumer goods manufacturers by research firm Altimeter Group found 86% of respondents are preparing to launch some sort of social commerce strategy by 2011.

For now, Facebook is letting retailers and third-party software makers take the lead in figuring out how to best meld social networking and online retail. Beard says brand name retailers like Levi Strauss & Co. are embedding Facebook’s increasingly ubiquitous “Like” button into their sites. That allows them to tap into Facebook’s huge vault of user information.

Children’s clothing retailer Tea Collection used Facebook’s Like button this summer to let shoppers vote on their favorite items, with the winning piece going on sale the next day. The retailer said the promotion enabled people to share their favorite items with Facebook friends, helping drive up visits to its Web site by an average of 300%. Revenue rose tenfold.

San Francisco-based Payvment helps small merchants set up storefronts on their Facebook fan pages, while Minneapolis-based Alvenda Inc. has bet on a model that lets big companies pitch products and services to people via their Facebook news feeds.

Last month, Alvenda helped Delta Air Lines Inc. became the first airline to let customers book flights on the social network, a move Alvenda chief Wade Gerten says prompted scores of inquiries from airlines around the world looking to jump into social commerce.


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