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Monday, November 12, 2007

Because Business is Social

"Business is social...", yup, we heard those phrase from Google's CampFire One where they announced the launching of the collaborative project OpenSocial. After watching the event video on YouTube for the 4th times, one thing that struck me is the phrase "Business is social...". Of course since business is basically built on relationships, just like between partners and clients.

Everything we do is in fact -- social, for example you and your favorite drink is based on a social relationship. Like people; the products we buy is representation of the company who produces it and with further analogy we know the company represents the people that works there. Therefore your favorite drink is the medium where you are socially connected to all those people in that said company.

Speaking of companies, most known ones already have a online presence via their websites. So why not make it as a medium for social connection as well?

Actually theres already an existing relationship mechanism on them but its only one way; you can only know about the company but it doesn't makes you known to them.

Until now, only IT oriented companies who has developer support program has a two way social relation mechanism in placed such as MSDN, Apple and Nokia. Clearly these said sites still needs a lot of improvement on providing means of social relationship since being a member on most of them myself still makes me feel alone. Aside from the usual blunt profile and forum there is no way for me to express my other interests.

For example I would most probably have business with a company whose employees perceive it as a fun company rather than a sweatshop. Just like I would probably trust most a business partner who has the same hobby as I do since its easier to communicate complex ideas based on something we have in common. I personally I like to make use of analogies so if you're not into playing RPG games then I will probably have a hard time explaining why playing FallOut2 is like the IT development management.

We were Web 2.0.

So what does this all mean? First look at MySpace, Facebook, Friendster etc, etc. These are sites provides the mechanisms for social relationships very well. Rather than companies advertising on them to provide a social conduit between their products and target audience; why not make your product / corporate site social and let consumers and clients express themselves there?

It's a good idea, in fact its a brilliant one that is was first conceived during the dot com era but the major problem was:

1. These companies doesn't know how much about creating two way social relationship online.
2. It takes a lot of technology to put one into the existing site.

Well today those problems are already solved, for problem #1 we already have successful model social sites; but for problem #2 the solution has only arrived.

The key is OpenSocial.

OpenSocial API can provide seem-less integration of user and relationship data between sites. This would allow for example; if I sign-up for Nokia Developer account my OpenSocial profile is copied (privacy options can be controlled of course) then it also tells all other sites that is liked via OpenSocial that I'm now a member of Nokia Developer Forum. It would also allow me then to browse the profiles of other members as well as business profile of Nokia executives, blog posts, browse products, create reviews of their recent phone model, etc. and all this will be available to others via OpenSocial.

Sounds great ain't it? I was so convinced that I re-coded one of my corporate websites into a social format.

Check out (still upgrading)

What I did there is merge the FAPPS social site project Cribz[beta] into with its corporate site. I did throw out the common (booooriiiing) corporate layout which is usually just a bunch of flashy images, technical jargons and hype-words but once you really read them your not going to find anything credible. While with this new model, relationship is expressed and credibility is enforced by those relationships. So far I'm trying to rebuild the contents on FAPPS because the old platform has a defunct database design that's why the site is a bit bare.

So there you have it, a proof that business can be social -- and it should for companies to survive in today's competitive business arena.

The Future is Mobile 2.0.

What's the future for OpenSocial and Web2.0? How about making it personal. Personal is what we term something we have always; so check your pocket now and I bet 90% all of you readers have your personal cellphone with you.

Imagine connecting OpenSocial into your phone, send and receive updates in real time. Ask for help, recommend, post reviews of the place you are now or the food your are eating and share them as it happens -- transparently. Combining the power of OpenSocial + Web 2.0 on mobile will be one of the best premises of Mobile 2.0


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