Mars’ Skittles has forgone a traditional website, and instead has created a seamless social media hub. If you go to the official Skittles website at www.skittles.com, the user is immediately directed to the Skittles fan page on Facebook.
One prediction I have for 2009 and the future of social media is the development and adoption of mobile social networks. What mobile does for social networking, if done correctly, is it effectively and seamlessly connects online relationships with offline experiences. The most popular features of social networking, like Facebook events, already do just that. With mobile social networks though, this can be accomplished with a lot more immediacy. There is the argument that online social networks causes people to become isolated and relinquish their need for real human interaction, but I think it actually enhances it. Once you are able to move outside of your house with these capabilities, I think this medium will begin to reach its full potential.
eMarketer released a report yesterday claiming there is major growth in mobile social networking. Overall, the number of people who accessed social networks from their mobile devices increased by 182% from September 2007 to October 2008.
Watercooler’s TVLoop is a TV entertainment product, which lives as an application on users social networking profiles. The application serves as both fan content (pics, trivia, quotes) and video distribution platform. Their other product, is FanSection, which is a sports fan application that can be installed to your profile.
In October, Watercooler announced their partnership with Hulu, increasing their TV offering by 40 more shows. Earlier this month, they had another major announcement; Watercooler is going to roll up all their video under one site, TVLoop.com. The distribution network will continue to exist.