Umair Haque / Bubblegeneration
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Design principles for 21st century companies, markets, and economies. Foreword by Gary Hamel. Coming January 4th. Pre-order at Amazon.


 
Tuesday, March 14, 2006


The Corporatization of 2.0

OMG. I am so totally creeped out by USA Networks new social networking site "Show Us Your Character" (it's in Beta!).

It's somewhat nauseating to see see such a grossly corporate appropriation of the social. Expect about a million more of these (this means you, Tagged); leave it to the market to give us 15,000 Frankensteins in imitation of the real thing.

Lucky for us Show Us Your Character won't last long; USA's got the formula totally, completely wrong.

-- umair // 11:10 AM // 10 comments


Comments:

Ahh ... it's cute! It's like a mashup between MySpace and America's Funniest Home Videos.

A least they've tried to give it an *angle* rather than just a me-too clone of an existing site.

(What was it you were just saying about how media people really understood the audience more than the geeks? ;-)
// Blogger phil jones // 2:44 PM
 

Regardless of whether we like it, or not, social networks will undoubtedly become more mainstream as incumbent media companies realize their applicability to a less techno-savvy audience. If social networks are to realize their full-potential as a mechanism to drive our fundamental computing experience, this just has to be the case. Although I agree that the application is a bit weak, I think that this "experiment" is indicative of something bigger on the horizon with respect to social software. On the plus side, the presentation is fairly slick.
// Blogger Hooman // 3:25 PM
 

Umair,

Sure, it's a little inane and silly, but I'm wondering why you are so disgusted with it.

It's not that bad, is it?
// Anonymous Dino // 4:05 PM
 

What's lame about it to me is that they clearly started with a tagline "characters welcome", and went from there.

Then, they took professional 'characters' such as El Vez, a (Los Angeles) locally well-known Elvis impersonator, and a bunch of other people who probably have their faces in some casting agent book somewhere.

It's all top down, all driven by a tagline, and all lame. But then again, this isn't competing against cool things, it's competing against other marketoid crappy things. So in that sense, it's not that bad.
// Anonymous Sally // 4:17 PM
 

Sally - great perspective; you are totally right. Finally, trekkies have a myspace.

Umair - Surely, having given the keynote speach at Web2con, Barry Diller has his finger on the pulse of the people-web (read in your most sarcastic tone)
// Anonymous Anonymous // 4:43 PM
 

I don't know if this is so bad. Well, let me be more clear. It sucks ass but it is the cheapening and idiotization of a good idea. Based on this, I think it will have more appeal to the mass market than something a little more 'cool' and, well, 'intelligent'.

It's idiotonomics (TM, (C), PAF, etc) at work. I think I'm going to start a blog called idiotonomics, describing the idiotization of good ideas and how successful a business strategy this really is. Instead of 'jargon', I'll put 'quotes' around nearly everything to add 'some' sort of 'emphasis'.
// Blogger dhd // 5:54 PM
 

Hey Guys,

Thanks for the comments.

I think my problem is that it's so transparently corporate (at least to me). It's a great marketing schtick - I'm sure advertisers are drooling - but there is no real social value proposition here for consumers. Fad, yes; depth, no.

Will networks move to the mass market? They're already there!! My grandma ain't gonna use em; my kid sis already does.

Also remember, in this space, presentation is a minus, not a plus.

Sally,

I think that is a very good point.

dhd,

"No one ever went broke underestimating the taste of the American public" suggests you should n't write an Idiotonomics blog, you should import dirt from China, pack it into pills, make an infomercial, and call them "Personal Values Boosters".

Sh*t, that is a pretty good idea - who's in?
// Blogger umair // 9:29 PM
 

come now... this is marketing. usa networks simply wants to build a brand around great characters cause thats the one thread the marketing team could agree on and the one thing they hope consumers will remember.

this is not a serious social networking play by any stretch... call it participatory marketing. the ideas not bad and the execution is polished.

corporations / marketers have always appropriated the social (culture) and always will.
// Anonymous troy // 1:54 AM
 

Thanks Sally, for clarifying that this is lame, and that it's not competing against cool things.

Mainly out of curiosity, what are some of the cool things this is not competing against? Just curious to see what you think is cool.
// Anonymous Dino // 4:07 AM
 

God I hate corporate community sites.

Now that all my clients are jumping all over the Internets they want to build a sense of "community". Community is the "viral" of the '06's.

It's "let's allow users to upload photos here" (well d'uh, if they know how to upload photos they're already on Flickr and if they don't why would they do it here).

"Why don't we allow them to create avatars" (see how smart I am cause I can say avatar).

I keep knocking them in the head - to the disgust of my boss cause there is money in dem dere communities.

At least this one I can semi understand because they are trying to build a sense of community around certain shows, and just giving people a few neato touches to work with.

And tv shows are one of the best properties to build commmunities around. Has anyone visited the american idol site - now that's how to build real communities around tv shows. But then again, they've been doing it pretty much since they started.

The execution is all right. The concept is there. now let us just see what happens when people start slagging off the shows they are building community around.

But I still give it a 0 because of my hatred for corporate community sites. Why don't they just pay one of their passionate users to run a blog instead.
// Blogger NicolasZ // 8:26 AM
 
 

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