I came across an article the profiled Generation Y, and a couple of things jumped out at me. First, they said that “Social networking will be just a feature” of corporate web sites in the future. I whole-heartedly agree. That’s why Ringside Networks is offering a Social Application Server that enables all web sites to integrate social features. More importantly, by providing identity mapping capabilities, Ringside will enable companies to enable their users to map their Facebook, MySpace, or other OpenSocial identities to their identity with your company, providing mutually beneficial advantages. For the user, they can extend their social experience to your web site and vice versa. For the companies, they can increase their reach to all of the major social networks.
Despite the recent announcements about Friend Connect, Facebook Connect, and Facebook Blocking Google, this is not the end of the open web, as this Mashable post suggests. As far as I can see, smart companies will put the power of identity control and mapping into their users hands, thus bridging the gap amongst today’s major social networks (see my previous post for a use case).
Getting back to the Generation Y article, they also said that Generation Y doesn’t care about your brand, they care about what their friends think. That sounds a bit like a chicken/egg problem. At some point, someone is going to have to form an opinion of your brand. How that happens is still under the locus of control of the company in my opinion. Promotion is still important folks, and it always will be. It is just going to have to be done in the future via a different marketing mix than was common yesterday.