Content at the Social Media World Forum (#smwf) 2010 was mostly articulated around strategy applied to various objectives and environments (government, politics, PR, crisis communication, etc). From this stem my three trending topics.
A few nuggets however also made their way to the surface: those are “hot topics”.

Three trending topics:
Strategy: what it is, how to draw one, what to look for when devising one, asking the right questions.
A tip from Muhammad Karim, Senior Brand Manager for Mars: DON’T launch into or try anything if you don’t have a strategy. Sounds obvious but apparently it’s not unusual that people launch into “campaigns” without having built a clear roadmap.

Metrics: surprise, surprise — NOT (…) ! Measuring your impact. Keywords: ROI, results, brand. Luckily we were spared the awful “conversion rate”, which, apparently took front stage at SXSW (South By South West, held in Austin, Texas).
I noticed a certain schizophrenia on the part of the speakers who kept on oscillating between “how many” and “who” — quantitative vs qualitative.
Within the metrics issue lays the question of the measuring tools. The question was debated on and off-stage: free applications vs professional apps.
—> here’s another tip from Muhammad Karim : the difference is that you gain time on the long term with professional apps

Facebook came up in 95% of conversations, on and off stage. Big buzz. There were also dedicated Facebook 101 workshops, called “Facebook Developers Garage” (Why garage, by the way ? Can someone tell me ? ). But where was LinkedIn ? The biggest buzz deficit I noticed was there. Although they had sent top representatives, it was hardly mentioned in official talks or lobby chats. On the other hand, the Viadeo representatives were very much there and very actively networking.

Two hot topics:
Geotagging is the next big thing. It has great revenue-generating potential through its cross use on multiple platforms. Geotagging enables 1) to provide the user with information regarding services existing in his/her direct, immediate environment at any given time and 2) to provide tailor-made offers and suggestions to users locally as well as worldwide.
—> guess what ? Facebook is ready to launch its app. Get ready ! Yes, this raises the issue of privacy, indeed. But it’s another debate altogether.

Virtual gaming: it is a growth market, with the U.S. representing a mere 1/5th of the size of the Chinese market. Currently, Asia is the sector leader. [thank you, Nichola Stott for the figures as I hadn’t attended that session].
For Muhammad Karim, the Social Gaming Market will be the biggest gaming market in the world in five years.
And according to Trevor Johnson, Facebook’s Head of Strategy and Planning, EMEA, virtual branded gifts are really big, especially with the virtual economy being valued at 10 billion usd in 2010.

There’s a controversy that makes me smile and I want to share it with you to wrap this up: it’s about Zynga’s Farmville game on Facebook.

Facebook's Trevor Johnson talks about Zynga's Farmville at the Social Media World Forum 2010

About 1% of the world population plays Farmville. Trevor Johnson said that even real-life farmers enjoy playing it. Yes, it’s truly addictive, and I have no shame to testify myself, after having declined offers to play for a year, I’m now hooked. So the debate is a matter of “addictive” vs “I’m worried for the human race”.

… So what’s *your* take on it ?

  1. […] Gaming = Growth Market Virtual gaming was a trending topic at the Social Media World Forum (SMWF) in London two months ago and some amazing figures were released then: the virtual gaming is a growth […]

  2. […] reasons why the market is poised for growth. First, the virtual gaming market in itself has great potential. Just think. The virtual economy as a whole is valued at $10 billion this year. If that were not […]

  3. Hi Liva,

    I definitely think you have picked up on some of the main trending topics of SMWF this year. I think what is interesting, is that the top three you have mentioned; Strategy, Metrics and Social Networking Platforms i.e. Facebook, are the ones that the traditional marketing world is facing rather than those working within these platforms and in the digital industry itself.

    I would say social networking began very organically, and people using it wanted to connect on a human level. But now brands and marketers have to prove their ‘Social Media Campaign’ budget and see a direct result from the work. In the future I think we are likely to see a fusion from multi-channel marketing, from print, radio, TV and online, blending together.

    I agree, it’s a toss between using free measurement tools and professional tools. This where I see an opportunity for those working within the digital industry – with plenty of experience – to step-up-to-the plate and harness the free tools. What free tools do you use? TweetDeck, Google Alerts, Tweetbeep?

    Great post by the way!


    • Liva Judic says:

      Hi Chloe !
      Thanks for insights from the heart of things there.
      Future is clearly about integration — or fusion as you call it. Definitely something to think about in terms of business strategy…
      Keep reading. More fun posts to come… with great phrases 😉 #GeekettesUnitedByRed.

  4. Liva,

    Wow! Great round-up. You’ve really managed to capture the theme of the whole event so well.

    Facebook really was the number one topic, and I lost count of how many speakers cited the 400 MM users, x hours a day on the site, bigger than David Hasselhoff etc.

    For me, the most exciting sector is social gaming. Muhammed Karim wasn’t the only person that referenced this sector as where to look. Adam Kaplan of Adknowledge also very confidently stated he felt that this market would be the largest online revenue market in five years time. In the same panel, David Wang (SEGA), maintained social gaming would have mass market penetration within three years.

    I interviewed Oliver Lo, Snr Marketing Manager of Vojo World (Medical Mayhem, Vice Central) yesterday. I’ll let you know when it’s live as there were some amazing stats and insights I know you will find interesting!

    • Liva Judic says:

      Thanks Nichola ! I really appreciate your feedback and contribution.
      You’re my favorite game specialist. Thanks for giving more info on it and yes, I sure am looking forward to your Vojo World piece !

  5. iPod Themes says:

    Virtual gaming means virtual currency. If you ask me, this is an industry on the run, an industry of the future!

  6. Social comments and analytics for this post…

    This post was mentioned on Twitter by merrybubbles: Top 5 trending and hot topics at #smwf 2010

  7. Thanks Liva, it’s a great sum up of the topics, Yes I also noticed a destinctive lack of presence by Linkedin I wonder what their presence was like at SXSW?

    Personally I got quite frustrated by this whole ROI topic, everyone wanted to talk about it but there was a bit of lack of direction.

    I think another hot topic was using internal social media networks. This makes sence for businesses. By forcing workers to comunicate via outdated channels they are causing them to take their comunications online.

    Look how IM has grown as a business application.

    Aah yea… That bloody farmville, i’ve also been playing it on and off since it started. I tend to delete the app every few months and then re-enable it when I am truly bored or hear there are now green alien cows.

    I missed the gaming session, it sounds like it was a good one.

    • Liva Judic says:

      Hi Johan, thanks for your comments !

      The internal use of social media was never treated as a separate topic (at least in the sessions I attended) and for a reason: it is tantamount to any “serious” social media strategy. I saw there has been a workshop in the Enterprise Social Media part though.
      In short, it seems to me that making the distinction between internal and “external” use of social media is just the same as differentiating “organic” and digital media or PR. In fact, they go hand in hand, and the real concept there is to integrate one with the other, not the opposite.

      Read on… the next post will give you more tips ! I’m looking forward to your comments on it.


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