The other day I was reading an article over there at The State Of Search talking about the ‘New Generation’ of Social Network users mainly focusing on how to use Facebook, Twitter and mainly google+ to keep up with current trends and developments. While that is of course always a valid tip I thought I try to put my spin on what might be also important regarding the ‘Next Generation’ of Social Network users.
What I see here, since working in South East Asia, all the time is that decisions, opinions or even business is not only made on the common networks like facebook or twitter (or g+).
Besides Facebook there are mainly social messaging services that gain more and more popularity over here. I know I talked about my presentation in Berlin a few weeks ago already but now in the aftermath it actually seems like I did not only talk about what’s going on over here right now but also about what might happen everywhere soon. Let me elaborate on this a bit.
Up and coming in Asia are Social Messaging apps. When you’re not from the region you might only use ‘Whatsapp‘ as kind of a replacement for SMS, right? However there are far more advanced services that let you do so much more. In the presentation above I named Line (by Naver, Japan) and WeChat (by Tencent, China). Both huge competitors in this field and quite sophisticated when it comes to the mobilization of the masses and the monitization of their services.
The ‘Next Generation’ of social network users who now grows up with those services can’t almost live without them anymore. When you think you’ve seen social media addiction before I dare you to enter a train or subway in Asia. You won’t see anyone looking up – everybody will stare on his or her mobile phone and quite likely run either wechat or line. Those two apps however are not only there to enable you to chat with friends – no – there’s much more. Those applications developed into an own social network. Besides being able to send stickers and other corny things you can also set up an own ‘home’ screen. Something like your facebook profile. You can post status updates, select cover pictures etc. With WeChat you can even find random people via different features: For one you can send ‘bottle messages’ and somebody who uses the same feature simply picks your ‘bottle’ and decides to answer you – or not. You could also use the ‘shake my phone’ feature. If you shake your phone and somebody else, in a completely different place, does the same, the app will match you and introduce you to each other. Or, yes there is more, you could also try to find people in your area via the appropriate function and GPRS. And that’s not all yet. Say again Social Messaging is boring!
If you still need another proof that Social Messaging is not boring and home to many possibilities: Businesses in Asia started to do, well as the name suggests, business with those messaging Apps. You can order food via message services, ask for more information with universities or simply use it to get discounts.
Furthermore, as one of the TNW authors pointed out, it is incredibly helpful to have your messaging ID in your email signature or on business cards since, at least here in Asia, people simply love messaging instead of calling. You won’t believe how much business is being done by just sending short messages.
All those things in addition to what I said on the video conclude one thing: It is, of course, important to keep up with the content that the ‘Next Generation’ is sharing on facebook and co – but it is also important that there are other ways of social networking emerging. The other day for example the Chinese pendant to Twitter, Sina Weibo, just opened their social stream for advertisements so I guess it won’t be long before WeChat and Line hop on that bus. So keep your eyes open and don’t only focus on the thing that you’ve been doing for the past 5 years. Just remember when Facebook and Twitter came up and everybody said it won’t be a thread for ‘real marketing’ – don’t let the same thing happen to you by only focusing on the ‘old’ players on the field of social networks. Be part of the next generation.