I’ve been thinking about this for a while, when it comes to the social networks that are out there meaning Facebook or twitter basically preconceived around the notion that you have friends that you want to interact with. This is a pretty good assumption.
That being the base assumption, why didn’t Ping work for Apple? There are many reasons, but the biggest is that a social way to share music has to have more than text saying why you like the music. Ping isn’t the only social network to fail, not by far, but it’s failure is indicative of a social network that very easily could change the world, and it’s not just the current social networks that should be worried.
What’s the one thing that we all ask others about? The answer is simple, but not always obvious. “What do you think about this?” We, as consumers, ask this constantly. We search Google in a quest to find this answer, to find the solution to how something functions, why it’s built this way, how to use it, and why I should buy it. This is the primary answer that Google finds for us, and it’s usually based on knowledge posted freely by those we don’t know.
And so we trust that Google is getting us there. Google has tried to capitalize on Search as a Social, and it’s failed for them. Not because the information isn’t there, but because the final step is obfuscated and tricky to manage.
Someone online, and I can’t find the link, mentioned something about how search is functionally a utility, much like electricity or water, and no one turns those other utility services into a social network. PGE might love it, and it’d be interesting for the historical value, but not much else. And it’s understandable, because up until now searching online has been a “let me ask the world, since I really don’t want to contact my friends and neighbors about this particular nonsense” thing.
But it doesn’t have to be that way, and there’s one company that could, rather easily, make a huge sea change by augmenting the social network they have lurking in the background of their business. Because everyone shops there, and when they buy stuff, they have the chance to document and comment on that stuff, and if there were a simple social integration with who we are what we buy, it could very easily supplant Google as the go-to for finding out about stuff. And then buying stuff. And that right there? That’s money. Lots of money.
Mark my words, there’s a good chance for social to be disrupted in an astounding way, yet it’s flying way below everyone’s radar so far. Which is weird, when you consider who can do this. And there really is only one company that can.