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Wall Street Journal Discovers Social Networks Other than Facebook

Like most mainstream media outlets, The Wall Street Journal is gaga over Facebook. Just last week, they were writing about everyone’s favorite social networking site.

But now it looks like the honeymoon’s over. The WSJ has discovered that there are other social networking sites out there—and many of them are inherently useful! Today they profile four niche social networking sites.

Perhaps most impressive among these is, a social networking site “for physicians, by physicians” (which you can tell is true, because if someone other than a “physician” had created the network, it would have been for “doctors”). The WSJ story starts off with an anecdote about a doctor physician who turned to Sermo when presented with a puzzling case—and was helped to an accurate (and obscure) diagnosis.

New Digg Home Page Goes Live With Video

It was just my luck that Marketing Pilgrim made the home page of Digg, just as the site went offline in preparation of its new look home page. I could curse my luck or instead get excited that Digg is listening to its users and making video content more prominent.


…we’ve gone live with improvements to our home page that allow you to see both news and videos on a single page. We’ve gotten a lot of feedback that the videos are entertaining but people miss them because they’re isolated. Bringing them back into the stream on the homepage will hopefully bring more life to videos on the site. If you prefer just news or only videos, you can easily customize your view by setting either as your default home page (login and choose “Customize”).

New York Times Getting Personal(ized)

The New York Times has announced a free personalization service called MyTimes. (The “cleverness” in the name becomes more apparent when you remember that the common abbreviation—and URL—for the paper is the NYTimes. ;) )

the NY Times new personalized start page, MyTimes, with added RSS feed

The Times’ First Look blog lists MyTimes as in private beta in the main text, and describes it as a

personalized service [which] makes it easy for you to read all that you like, from one central place. You can further personalize your my Times page by adding up-to-date weather information of your city, movie showtimes in theaters near you, or display your favorite flickr photos. We are constantly adding more widgets to my Times, so make sure you keep checking this blog.

The sidebar, with updated posts, explains that MyTimes entered open beta on Monday.

Leveraging Facebook for Business

ClickZ and Business Week both offer stories today on how to leverage Facebook— without their upcoming targeted advertising.

Facebook for B2B
Tessa Wegert, writing at ClickZ, offers her plan for B2B networking and marketing on Facebook. Among the opportunities and benefits that she sees are:

  • Brand evangelism (even if you have to do it yourself)
  • Personal branding
  • Establishing yourself as a thought leader
  • Creating a Facebook group as yet another touchpoint for your brand
  • And, possibly in the future, advertising targeted to workplace networks and business sectors.

Wegert concludes:

To date, Facebook has been predominantly a personal social network, but that hasn’t stopped businesses and their proactive marketing and sales teams from adapting its existing features to suit their networking and promotional needs. As their own networks of business contacts grow friend by friend, so too does the site’s B2B community as a whole, and the opportunity for interactive marketers to target it.

Facebook Really Does Make Money

Aside from “Are you on Facebook?”, it seems like everyone’s favorite question about the latest social networking phenomenon is “But how are they making money?” Today the Wall Street Journal answers that question for us: targeted advertising.

The WSJ writes:

Social-networking Web site Facebook Inc. is quietly working on a new advertising system that would let marketers target users with ads based on the massive amounts of information people reveal on the site about themselves. . . .

The new service would let advertisers visit a Web site to choose a much wider array of characteristics for the users who should see their ads — based not only on age, gender and location, but also on details such as favorite activities and preferred music, people familiar with the matter say. Facebook would use its technology to point the ads to the selected groups of people without exposing their personal information to the advertisers.

Would You Like the Red Pill or the Blue Pill?

Unype Beta Unype is a mashup of Google Earth with VoIP service provider Skype – and available as a Facebook plugin application to give your social network that virtual interactive experience.

RANT WARNING: Am I the only one that thinks we’re hurtling toward the Wachowski brothers‘ Matrix. Not only can I chat with virtual friends – but hey, now I can pretend to be one as well. Gee! I can stop going down to the real pub to meet real mates – just plug the computer into the back of my head. Get me a glass of water and chuck us the red pill.

Meeting in Paris

On the other hand; if you take the blue pill you can beg for your life back enjoy seeing other Facebook users roaming the Google Earth and interact with them using your Skype account.

Is Microsoft Trying To Be Social or Candid?

Reuters has reported that Microsoft will partner with Bebo – the largest social networking site in the UK and a network that is hunting down MySpace and Facebook in the US.

Windows Live Messenger will be integrated with the Bebo system to allow instant messenging between members, in addition to the import and export of contacts across both user bases.

Joanna Shields, president of Bebo’s international business, confirmed why the alliance was good for them:

Our core strength is not building applications. We’re more of an open platform and much more likely to partner than build it ourselves

According to Shields, about 90 percent of Bebo users already use Windows Live IM services, making Microsoft the most logical partner.