Response – What value do users derive from social networking applications?

Aah, the concept of cool as explored by marketers. I may be going out on a tangent and limb here, but I think Yelp has it right. When logged in, a user can check three key distinctions on a review: Useful, Funny, and Cool. Because that’s really what this article’s findings are about, right? Applications that are considered cool and passed along are almost always useful in some way (even if that way is wasting time) and fun or funny.

At the very least, I was impressed that the authors recognized that value now is created with the exchange of time and information between customers and not always customer-to-organization as most new media theory suggests. The symmetrical values laid out in Table 2 lay out the basics of consumer-to-consumer interaction in the simplest terms. Obviously this can be broken down further by personality types, as certain kinds of people will respond differently to multiple notifications, as demonstrated by the chart.

Polar influence is more obvious in determining the sharing of an application. I.e. we all know that an app with a negative word of mouth is not going to get shared nearly as much. Uni-directional effects seem more concerned with usability than anything else. Free, easy to use, non-intrusive apps pass the uni-directional table quite well.

Personally, I’m seldom in favor of apps on Facebook. Maybe it’s a little bit of OCD coming out, but I just don’t like the clutter that sometimes occurs with installed and shared apps. Those that increase the social-ness of social media and inspire friendly competition come to mind: Scrabulous is my favorite, not surprisingly.


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