What makes content social? It takes two types of network:
- Social networks are well understood and symbolized by the likes of Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and G+.
- Content Networks are an emerging category that each focus on a specific content type. YouTube, Slideshare, Soundcloud, Listly, Visually and Scribd are all examples of content networks.
See how Wikipedia explains these three platforms:
- YouTube is a video-sharing website
- SlideShare is a Web 2.0 based slide hosting service
- SoundCloud is an online audio distribution platform
Individually we may call YouTube a video network or a video platform, but collectively the things that make YouTube works make Slideshare work too.
It’s the form, function and interaction/exchange of social networks AND content networks that powers content to go viral.
This post serves two purposes:
- To explore the advantages of social networks vs content networks.
- To explore the utility of the six different content network types
If you are a content strategist or a content marketer you will benefit from a deep appreciation the six types of content. These are your instruments, your orchestra. When it comes to creating content and building a network and a community, knowing how and why these tools work will help you be more effective and deliver more results for less dollars.
Its valuable to understand networks from both the technology and consumer perspective. The fast feedback these networks provide is highly addictive. Just like there are advantages to being on the leading social networks, there is also value in creating and distributing content via the six types of content networks.
ie Video, Audio, Slides, Lists, Graphic and Documents.
Via TFT’s Chris Dancy, I learned how they take the content from their 24 hour virtual conference and transcribe it to all 6 media types. This is the new normal. Touch people via the medium that suits them in their moment of need. This is how you remove friction from the consumption and sharing of content. This is how to get found.
I began this post with an idea and an infographic and everything else rolled from there. This topic happens to translate well via all these six media types.
Lets explore how and why these two types of networks operate and bring value.
Here’s the infographic via Visual.ly
Followed by two lists
1 Mass Adoption
Social networks have arrived in all their different guises over multiple different waves since the inception of the internet. Today we have 4 dominant players: namely Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin and Google+.
Here's three stats to prove the point if you have any doubt.
The success of social network adoption has led to all these sites being considered a proxy for identity. Many social apps only offer the option to login via one of the big 4 social networks.
This is significant when you consider the marketing value and preferences expressed by these users.
The preference graph is still emerging, but there is little doubt it will be built on top of the social graph.
3 People Catalog
Due to the mass adoptions of these networks, it's now possible to research a company via the catalog of people you can find via a social network.
When you search for a person it's very likely these first things you will find will be their social network profiles.
Today, due to social networks people are infinitely more visible and findable
4 Content Agnostic
The social networks are simply that - a place for people to connect and converse. They are a form of non-owned media. As such they are content agnostic.
5 Sharing Platform
Social networks are driven by the sharing of content. Sharing is the whole basis of the content streams, which keeps people coming back for more.
Sharing includes a mixture of personal updates and business updates.
6 Social Metrics
Social networks provide a constant stream of metrics for both the casual consumer and participant as well as for big brands.
Number of friends, likes and shares are all metrics that are visible to everyone. Social metric are an addiction for many.
We all like to be liked and shared. It's somehow a reflection of our self-worth
1 Content Catalog
Content networks provide a massive content or peer rated content. In many ways that's the appeal. The validation from others helps us sift through the mass of content to help us determine what is of interest.
Content networks are all about findability. YouTube is the second biggest search engine after Google. Slidehare has 60 million monthly users and is in the top 200 websites globally.
Content networks provide great organic search value.
3 Content Reuse
Content networks are all about making it easier to share and reuse your content than to copy it.
It's now the norm to upload slides and videos. This mindset is fast propagating the other types of content networks
Embeddability is the cornerstone of a content network. The ability to embed any content that's uploaded to a content network is the reason people use content networks.
Helping your content to be found and embedded and share are all the reasons people see value from content networks. These are all the social features that remove friction from the process of creating, managing and distributing content across the web.
Content on content networks is easily shared via social networks.
6 Content Metrics
The metrics of how many times a video has been viewed or how many people like a list or how many people follow a particular user on slideshare are all tools to help us filter and sort the information that matters to us.
Metrics drive our behaviour
And a document via Scribd. The nice thing about scribd is the image is searchable.
And finally, an audio transcript, by way of a hat tip to Fred Wilson, an audio transcript of this post.
And not to miss out, a slidedeck.
I also made a short video to support the post.
What’s critical to realize is that it’s not the value of placing all these elements inside this post that has an impact. That is secondary. In fact I’m pretty sure all these embeds make this post look cluttered.
The value is on placing the content directly inside each content network, because each network gives you a different slant into the content networks. You will always have different followers on each network, which is a very strong reason to produce content for each content network.
The value is in setting your ideas free and letting them be found.
Let people find you by the medium they chose in their moment of need.
Footnote: There is no widely adopted collective noun for what I term “Content Networks”. It does have some prior use, but it did not feel significant enough to warrant picking a different name. I validated the term with many people before proceeding.