Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Social Network Fragmentation

It’s clear that social networking on the Internet is following the same path as television entertainment.

You have the horizontal sites -- such as LinkedIn, Facebook and MySpace -- which are like your broadcast TV stations (NBC, CBS, ABC and FOX). Although these sites have sub-groups and forums based on interest, they are designed to cater to a broader audience.

Fragmentation is occurring rapidly with vertical social networking sites that cater to the interests of specific niche audiences. These sites are just like niche programming on cable television.

The most recent social network entry is from Creative Artists Agency. Billed as a “Facebook for Young Athletes,” this site targets youth sport participants and their families.

Here’s a good story in the New York Times on the site and its big-name supporters, including the NBA’s Tony Parker and LeBron James, as well as MLB’s Derek Jeter.

Social Site's New Friends Are Athletes

Why the similar evolution of these distinct media? It’s simple…they are all advertising driven. And advertisers want to reach customers and prospects in the most targeted (and economical) way.

For public relations professionals, it’s critical that we tailor content to the specific needs of the social network or community we are seeking to engage. At Strategic Communications Group (Strategic) we refer to this as social network engagement.

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