Networked Economics cont…

Question: What is the dialogue like in business today? Is it fear/excitement?

The dialogue in business is a spectrum from anxious to terrified!
The logic from one to many may no longer apply, or may need to make room for this new model.
Organizational form (manufacturing economics) that tend to oligopoly may not apply today.
Challenges to all dimensions in corporate life. If this shift is indeed this big, then the implications are big and will be difficult to deal with.

Randy: How people’s lives in the field change because of civic engagement? – Most people feel dis-empowered, and this was surprising. Problem is that people feel that can’t effect change. Our goal is to bring sustainability ideas to the masses, and we want to let them know they can make a difference in their day to day life. This empowerment may lead to people being more engaged, in politics and voting, for example.  We are trying to make change from the bottom up.

Suha: Real Girls has integrated a range of voices, from seasoned writers to people just telling their stories.

Tom: Commercial business have changed. Everyone is speaking to each other in a non-linear conversation. Complete breakdown of what it takes to create scalable programming.
The implications for people making programming is great; people can make their voice heard. MySpace, for example, is great for this. People have the means to make their voices heard. They are outlets to get your voice heard. The marketplace enables people to find information in economic ways.

Market value has deteriorated for Gannett, vs. MySpace whose values has substantially increased.
Jennifer: MySpace and social network spaces are reaching communities that perhaps newspapers are not. So they are rolling out social networking sites to reach more of the community, from moms and dads to soccer coaches. At a very local level, they seek to connect people with similar interests through social sites.

This panel has a good mix of incumbents and new players.
We have discussed barriers to entry. We have not talked about barriers to exit, which apply to companies that must adapt to new environment. How to put a traditional business in momentum?

Tom: Look at companies MySpace and Gannet. They may seem different, but we are dependent on each other. We need an authoritative voice. It’s not old media, but it’s an expert voice.

There is an expectation of interactivity, and you can’t stand in its way. 85% use of our site is on the commentary.Five years ago, try to sell ads on user generated content, ad agencies would never consider this, but there is a huge change today.

Its not just about connecting, but we can provide new sources of information. People can search databases. By layering ability to search documents, we find people are solving problems in their community through us. It’s not just between new/old media, but it is both. We see that we have an exponential area of growth.

Merrill: We have not yet discussed “disruption”. How does Craigs List change business model of newspapers?

Tom: It’s a return on investment, not disruption. It’s disruptive that the consumer impacts the return on investment. Social networking leads to return on investment: 70% of purchase intent was from momentum effect. MySpace and commercial market place is not at expense of anyone, Tom says.

It comes down to trust. The “common” man is providing value. We all must become our own experts. So the experts are disrupted.

Lawrence:  There is more marketing money around. If this urge to co-create is genuine, then 15 years from now, it will all be about aggregating. Marketing money will recede in the mix of business expense. You won’t tell people what they want and where to find it; they will tell you what they want.
It’s the extension of the logic of the media to commerce at large.

Audience member from Consumer Report: We have tension between expertise and desire of customers to do their own product reviews. How do you integrate these 2 things? Should we pull them apart on the site or let viewers see both side by side?

Finance – they will not stop buying information from Reuters. They can’t just rely on the information from crowd sourcing. It depends on the size of the transaction! To buy a blender, on the other hand, the consumer wants to see expert and all individual’s opinions. People want to see what the expert thinks AND what lots of others think. But advertisers are scared of loss of control.

The consumer isn’t willing to pay what we thought. Model must be more efficient. So cost being driven out of the system. This is disruptive.

Solana from Global Voices. Are you changing user behavior? Or are you just trying to make money on something people are doing anyway?

Tom: People have always wanted to make their voice heard. We are just giving them a voice. Consumers are getting smart.

Suha. We are hosting a party. People are going to do what they want to do. We can guide them. We lead by example. The consumer is telling us what they want.

Merrill asks a wrap up question. If you asked the WeMedia folks how many were on Facebook a few years ago, it would not be too many. Today, everyone is on Facebook.  What does this mean for the world we live in and the world of wemedia? How does the scale of social networking impact us? What will it look like in 2 years?

Tom:  On MySpace, there is relevant programming to niche audiences, but this is scalable.

Nick: The whole thing has not evolved yet. Some social networks will be: I’m a human being, I’m in business. MySpace has been turned in to a platform, and this can be copied.

Suha: The increase of social networking platforms means transparency. Being on networks, someone can take my photo, and there it is online. So you have to act like you are always on air. The social platform is the cost of entry.

Chris: If you have the ability to network everyone, it’s the next layer of connectivity.   This is an amazing possibilty in productivity. This willlead to 10% jump in world productivity.

Randy: There is a revolution already occurring. The social network is only part of the solution. There is less value in individual applications, as they all can get you information. So it has to come back down to our personal values. There will be places on web that is home that corresponds to your values.

Jennifer: It’s going to continue to exponentially grow, but it will also get smaller. Twitter is good way to stay connected in a few characters.

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