Here’s something I missed at the time (April 2007) and I only found today after several unscripted blog jumps. Courtesy of the Forrester domestic blogs, BTW.
It’s a PDF paper that contains the analysis social networking giant MySpace did of the uses and value creation that people find in online networking tools and environments, and especially in theirs (and how to sell it to brands). It’s not the whole story, indeed I’d say it’s about a very specific part of the story… but a very relevant part. And seeing how many people confuse “online communities” with “online networking”, the lessons are bound to be relevant beyond its target.
As the authors say:
“We wanted the answers to questions such as:
— Are social networks merely a fun sideline to real life, or do they represent a fundamental change in the way people are interacting with each other, and with media at large?
— How much time and energy are users devoting to social networking, and to what end?
— How does social networking fit into the overall media landscape and into the online media landscape?
— What’s the primary function of social networks?
— What opportunities, if any, exist for brands to create more meaningful consumer connections within these social networks?
— Where does MySpace fi t within the category landscape?
— What role does MySpace play in consumers’ everyday lives?
— What activities do users participate in while on social networks?
— How do social networks generate value for brands?
— What are the right model and metrics to summarize and manage any brand value creation?“
Worth a read ;-) ?