Where are We?

by Roger Pynn

If you’ve ever gotten confused trying to remember which of your social network was the place you first saw or “heard” something, a white paper by Forrester’s Jeremiah Owyang predicts they will eventually be much more like one single network … that networks will follow users more than users will follow them.

Think of it like the ability to port your personal phone number from one wireless carrier to the other. You’ll have a single identity for which you are known in numerous online communities and you’ll participate in even more conversations. To those who sometimes feel overwhelmed by all this networking, hang on for the ride.

And to those who are already beginning to worry about the commercialization of these communities, hang on even tighter.

As Randall Beard wrote on MediaPost:

“future social web will make ‘portable’ the opinions, insights and knowledge of friends — which all research shows is much more trusted than any other information source–as consumers travel the Web and interact with brands, products and services.”

Although Beard also suggests that Owyang’s view of the future will include the ability to expose or hide personal information as you travel from network to network, there’s little doubt that consumer relationship management executives will demand greater technological support for tracking and monitoring consumer habits.

Where you go and what you say have never been so open to interpretation. And as if this weren’t enough, check out AT&T’s “familymap” product designed to “let you know where your kids are at any time.” For $9.99 a month you can locate up to two phones in your family plan with a gps tracking system.

Can’t you just see it now? The wife goes shopping and her husband calls to say “that store’s too darned expensive. Move on to something more moderate.” To which she will reply, “as soon as you leave that sports bar I’ll be glad to shop somewhere else.”

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