I wanted to briefly talk about a few technologies & trends that I’m excited about.
Voice-to-text: I have mentioned SpinVox several times in recent posts and believe that this technology, will change how the mobile Internet is utilized. (I have requested the free SpinVox trial and am waiting to be “approved” and will post about the service once I have the software set-up.) I believe that this along with screen real estate and battery life are the only thing keeping mobile internet usage from being an excellent experience. Instead of having to type into your mobile device you would be able to dictate and then have that converted into text. I’m very curious to see how this goes and I know from experience with video that getting your thoughts out in a clear concise manner is daunting. This bit of cruft took numerous takes. A very good thing for the “iPhone wanting yet tactilely challenged”.
Niche Social Network: I agree with Chris Anderson (video at the bottom of this post) and have been of the belief myself that we are just beginning the social network phenomenon. Overall, content and enabling tools are still way too general. As time passes we will see more and more niche and hyper-niche social networks. Some may be based on physical location while others may be based on the linking of the most uncommon things. Either way, this increasing depth of tribe will be a great thing for users and marketers alike. Users get to talk to like minded people and marketers get homegrown focus groups and deep behavioral pools. I believe that this splintering will occur over the next five years and then look for a big business with a roll-up strategy. I witnessed the beginnings of a Monster killer with the creation onTargetJobs.
Mobile Social Network: This is a no-brainer, as more and more things get pushed to the mobile internet and users become accustomed to using their phones as a tool instead of just a phone. The social nature of people is strong online and the one thing that people usually lack is a real world connection with those they are connected to. With a mobile device in hand this desire to connect will be facilitated and made more of a spur of the moment occurrence. (An impromtu Fark Party.) MeetMoi is something I would definitely belong to if I were young and single. This along with the increasing niche focus of the social network would make for a powerful business model. (Ads created by members for members; paid for by companies favored within the network.) A business at that point would be a member of the network and not a business with a store-front. This should be the goal for the corporate social graph.
Social Advertising: With the niche social network coming into play, it will become easier for businesses to participate in that network and partner with individual members to create social advertising that speaks to the network. Social ads will not work until networks are so thoroughly defined that NOT receiving a recommendation for a new product/service would seem like a social faux pas. We have quite a distance to go and we will get their. It is hard for me to call this advertising because we have all grown up to think of advertising as something we don’t want to see or hear. This model will be something that you look forward to. Similar to when a friend contacts you and tells you that your favorite band has just put out something new.
As I reread my list, I see a not-so-subliminal suggestion. Start a social mobile/niche network and utilize SpinVox for data entry (and an OLED partner for display) as soon as humanly possible. Michael Arrington recently posted about his belief that iPhone owners would make a great mobile social network and on some level I agree with him. Actually having the mobile hardware as a social object is a great idea. I do however think the niche needs to go deeper than just common hardware and general personal traits.
I’m thinking Helio users that like Wolf Mother, snowboarding and international travel. We could call it the Helio-Wolf-international-snow-Mother-boarding-traveler network; or in the spirit of Web 2.0, Leeba!