I’m at Day One of Online Social Networking & Business Collaboration World, where I’m chairing the plenary sessions and enterprise streams.
Partner event: Enterprise 2.0 Executive Forum on 24 February 2009
First up is Richard Kimber, who until recently was Managing Director – South Asia for Google, and very interestingly moved over to become CEO of Friendster a few months ago. Below are some notes from his presentation. Particularly interesting were his broad perspectives on the space from very deep experience, and what’s happening with Friendster in Asia.
The book on social networking has not been written yet. Only the first few chapters could be written so far. There is far more to happen yet.
It’s a fantastic opportunity to play in this space. Social networking brings together many spheres of competition. It fundamentally changes the way the internet works.
Family connections are very important. They are bringing fragmented families back together.
Thinking about friending in a new way. Self-expression is a new phenomenon. This didn’t happen 10 years ago.
Many of Friendster’s users are in the developing world.
Talking about entertainment with your friends is an extremely interesting issue.
The volume of photos shared on the Internet on social networks is phenomenal. You’re seeing people in a social environment.
How many businesses have embraced the online world as US politicians have? Not many.
The global view: eight of the top 20 websites globally are social networks. Friendster is #11. It’s the fastest growing part of the Internet.
There are different dominant social network players in different countries. Friendster is strong in Asia.
Social networks are the new portals. You’re social network page is the ultimate personalized home page.
Social networks grow through their members. Friendster has 150,000 new users every day. They determine where this goes.
Friendster has three times the reach of Facebook in Asia. Top user engagement (minutes per month) in Asia is Cyworld, Friendster and Orkut. Time spent is a key measure. While Google wants people to go off to other sites as quickly as possible, social networks want to keep them.
There are authentic (you’re you) and non-authentic (you have another identity) social networks. Authentic networks are not prevailing in North Asia. People prefer to engage through personas.
There are very different dynamics whether parents are in social networks or not.
Social networks are media platforms. When you are an artist who owns your own social network site, you can engage in new ways with your fans.
Developer programs open out the social graph. They allow developers to access massive audiences immediately.
There are two camps: OpenSocial and Facebook. Friendster has embraced both, which is unique. Placing bets on both platforms. There will be different successes for each.
It makes more sense for corporates to do apps within existing social networks rather than try to set up their own social networks.
A portal is a destination, something that people come back to through the day. Social networks are destinations. It’s easier to overlay email, IM etc onto social networks, rather than create a social network on top of an existing portal. People are only going to be in 2-3 social networks – they’re not going to keep adding. So social networks will compete with existing portals better than portals can compete with social networks.
We’re going to invest in mobile social networks – we see immense growth. In Asia, three times as many people access their social networks on phones than on computers.
Friendster in #1 in Indonesia and Philippines and #2 in Malaysia. There is more mobile social networking activity in Indonesia than the US.