Austin GDC 07: Building Bridges – Next-Generation Community Management

by K. Samwell on September 6, 2007 in Trade Shows

We are at the Austin GDC, so you can expect lots of information, lectures and interviews over the next few days. First up, we have a lecture by Richard Vogel, focusing on the current state of social networking and a look at where it’s headed. It’s a long one, so grab a fresh beverage and read on!

Page 3 – What are Memes?, The Future

I look at memes as kind of a portable content, basically they are things that you can pull out that you know slogans, music, tunes, melodies, icons, things that people are repetitive. What is a great example of portable content? A great example of portable content is these character sheets, if you’ve ever seen them, that you pull out, that’s kind of like your ranking on Xbox online and you can pull out and hand them to people. This is great, and it links back to this site, but it’s branded to that site so you know where it comes from, you know what site it comes from. And those are the kind of portable things you need to think about and are designed when we talk about community management.

Again, easy to do quizzes that you can pull out and put on your site, and just pass it around. Anybody familiar with Xfire? Xfire has an awesome launcher It has very cool tools, it’s very portable. Tickertapes are a great example, in game honours, launch pads, like Xfire, these are things that are portable and that’s the way we need to think about our content. It’s no longer: do we need to think about content attached to our website, we don’t. We need to think about content that’s portable. And you can pull out and that’s where viral marketing comes in, these small applets, widgets that you can pass on from user to user and connect that way, and that’s something that we should think about.

There are some great examples out there, Rupture which I guess has been out about a year, little over a year, these are fansites by the way, these are not regular sites that developers but they are great sites that have popped up around. Again, MyGamerCard – portable content that can be pulled out that you can give to people. Xfire again their launcher. MySpace is probably one of the classic examples of all the gaming theory that you can think of, put into here is you develop your site, you get ranked, you have friends, you get commentary, you get feedback, you get customization, all these apply to MySpace in a very good way.

This is like, if you can remember, Orkut was way before MySpace but MySpace blew open, so has FaceBook. It’s interesting how you have this big competition between MySpace and FaceBook and it’s really a demographic competition moreso than anything. Kids are on FaceBook, and the adults are on MySpace, but what’s happening is suddenly FaceBook is getting bigger than MySpace because the kids are growing up and they’re staying there and so it’s interesting to watch that migration, that battle between the two. And it’s all about providing spaces for your different audiences and again applying our gaming knowledge to our website since we’re developers is something we should always think about.

Again, MySpace is a great example of a game, in all its abilities and widgets that allow you to customize your site, that’s why it’s very popular. It’s amazing how you can see Flickr, with its sites and how fast that is growing with all its widgets and tools, you know what is cool what they haven’t done yet is: How about making some of that content on Flickr portable like a little album that you can give somebody for their birthday. You just give it to them off the site and here’s this widget album – they can open it up they can put it on their site. It talks about whatever, their vacation, their trip, again, portable content.

The Future

What I see about the future, I think that the web will be the content delivery. I really think that eventually we’re going to probably go off boxed sales. Do I think that’s going to happen now? No I think that’s going to be, for the US, probably 4-5 years before you really start seeing it in a big way. It may accelerate faster, who knows how things are going, because I wouldn’t believe myself that I haven’t bought a CD in five years, I haven’t bought a movie in ages, I just go to iTunes and get it. I think that the most next generation is used to now downloading content, and as it gets more prolific in our society I think you’ll start seeing the packaged business kind of dwindling, and I think the web is going to be our publishing medium.

Social streams are interesting, they’re kind of like ways of connecting individuals as you’re looking through what someone has said, you’re not really interested in where it’s coming from, but who is saying it. It’s an amazing way of gathering in one central location, a whole bunch of links to your friends and other things like that, that you can link to in one area, that’s what they call social streams. And I think that will be very much common place in our community, probably in about 3-4 years. And community management will be how products are marketed.

It’s amazing how marketing has become more interested in community in the past 3-4 years and really want to run that because they realize that you have more power in building the buzz in your community, faster than you can do. It’s the cheapest form of PR, and it goes everywhere, especially if you have a very hot site that people want to see. It is the cheapest form of marketing and it really is marketing the product and again when I talk about the portable content, that’s viral marketing, that is what it is.

Yanno I could really think that you can already start seeing it with Sony’s PS3 the whole thing that they’re doing. I really think that more and more our sites will probably become 3d virtual spaces as we develop more and more technology to make streaming easier, widgets better, faster. We’ve already seen a lot of these widgets form, it’s amazing how just two years ago, you really didn’t have a lot out there and what’s forming today with the power of bandwidth consumption and with the power of how bandwidth has gone down in price considerably and how the web has grown in a sense of how many people have broadband.

The funny thing about it is, if you’ve been to Asia, you look at what we have and you laugh. They’re so far ahead of us, I mean, when I was over there, just my cell phone I never went under 3 bars or ever dropped a call and I was in some remote places. Never dropped a call. Never had anything under 3 bars. I could text message, I had so many capabilities on my small little phone, just a small little phone, it was just amazing. And I was using them all the time. And bandwidth there is about 20 times faster than our bandwidth here. I mean that’s the difference.

It’s amazing how in Asia, that’s the content delivery mechanism anyway, is the internet, and we’re behind, is the way I look at it. I think these 3d virtual spaces will become a reality. When? Probably in about 4-5 years. You’re already starting to see huge strides to virtual worlds, virtual places, there’s a whole new conference dedicated to it, there’s MTV getting involved, Second Life will look like something that’s like an 8track in about 2 years. There’s a lot of very good stuff being worked on.

I even know that Google is working on a MySpace 3d which is very interesting. Yanno memes will be the next generation of branding, I really do, I think portable content on the web will be the next generation of how people can fly them to their phones, can transmit them to other people via phones or internet, is the way that we’ll probably be branding our product.”

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