I recently posted about the impending rise of the niche social network. This has already begun and does not get much press due the shear number of MySpace and Facebook users. The Data Portability Project (DPP) is a collection of businesses that are working to create standards that allow users to update their profile, media, etc in one location (Twitter, Facebook, etc) and have that information shared between those entities. This means that a user would be able to “stay in one location” and manage the elements of their social graph.
This also means that it will be easier than ever before to create and stay loyal to one social network as long as they are participants in the DPP. (It also means that the niche social network could be one of the primary places personalized marketing could take place.) It’s to be seen if MySpace/Facebook groups can offer the same level of niche-ness that an independent niche network can. I don’t think they can do it unless developers create niche specific tools for their platform. As more people join these networks, they are increasingly seen as monolithic. Why go to Walmart when you can go to Marczyks? Not only do I think that MySpace and Facebook won’t be able to keep up, I think the move off of their network will be much faster than people leaving AOL as social networks are a much more personal thing. (It is important to note that AOL recently posted some great earnings from advertising. In my opinion, the issue for AOL is that they are the largest yet most irrelevant web property.)
I’m excited to see how specific these niche social networks/micro-markets get. Two things are for sure; 1) they will make great focus groups and 2) the mobile marketing opportunities will be enormous.
This video explains the concept of data portability.