Socially Rich Media: The Current State of The Social Networking Aspects of Rich Media

December 15, 2007

The underlying power of social networking lie in the both in the wisdom of crowds and the ability of individual members of that crowd to return value to the group or to the originator of content within that group. We have previously written about return value with social networks being measured in terms of lead generation and loyalty

The social aspects of real estate video today are as limiting as the cut and paste distribution model associated with it. The universal model for socializing video content seems to be 1) click the email or share button, 2) enter a set of email addresses, 3) the recipient then clicks a link in an email that 4) sends them a landing page or channel on someone else’s (usually) heavily branded site. 

How can the socialization of rich media be considered beneficial in terms of return when any or all of the following is true?

Sharing Means Only One at a Time: Sharing multiple videos is an especially cumbersome and disjointed process. If a broker wants to share 3 or more videos with a team of agents, the current process requires at least three emails to be generated. Each of these emails send agents to a different locations to watch the content. The more that rich media is shared with a given person, the more that the email inbox becomes the collection point for shared rich media. As Tom Hank’s character in the movie Big says (after loooking at a transformer-type toy that turns into a house), “what’s so fun about that?”

– Leaving your site works against your brand:   You’ve already carried the provider’s branding to your “cut and paste” locations (which in the case of property videos are likely only your own sites). We found that there is often little identification of the original content producer as part of the “social” process – the fulcrum point of social sharing almost always leads back to the infrastructure provider. Chances are they as much a part of the original online conversation as the furniture is during a real life conversation. Both furniture and video infrastructure provide an environment to hold a comfortable socially oriented conversation but, in real life, we dont have to return to the same room to generate leads or loyalty from that conversation. Why should people only that have received shared content from you have to leave your site or social circle to view, enjoy, or further share it? 

– Only pulling is allowed even when a bit of a push is necessary: Only the big social network sites have personalized rich media content that can work within a social networking structure. Even including those sites, social media as it stands today is an almost 100% “pull” model – users must still find and consent to content. When thinking about the application of “social media” to meet corporate  requirements, there are scenarios where organizations should be able to “push” organizationally approved content to all members of its own group or a defined subset of the group.

In short, there isn’t much that is truly social about rich media right now…unless, of course, email with links count.   What isn’t being thought about is how to syndicate rich media in such a way that it is social without having to participate in yet another social media hierarchy. This will allow web 2.0 marketeers using rich media such as real estate video to reap the benefits of loyalty and lead generation without the additional heavy-handed overhead of social networking (which for the “socially weary” among us is showing signs of being the penultimate “next big thing”).

Stay tuned.



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