Last week, I was reading the news of the Snapvine acquisition by my friends at Whitepages.com. Snapvine is a widget application embeddable in social sites with which users can leave voice messages/comments to other users. I suspect Snapvine has built a VoIP infrastructure that can be leveraged for any type of communication product.
According to Techcrunch, “they’ll integrate Snapvine into search results, letting people claim their information and replace their phone number with a voicemail box from Snapvine, and/or a click-to-call button that lets people call them without giving out their phone number. Their hope is that as people do searches on themselves (…) and find their information listed on WhitePages.com, they’ll claim the profile and add Snapvine functionality.”
The announcement reminded me of a great blog post I read about 10 days ago on ReadWriteWeb, where they were discussing the next steps in terms of social media monetization. They suggested the mass-market utility model defined as “social graph + communication tools.” is the winning formula for social media. They added: “The communication tools could be email, SMS, VOIP, poking, walls, vampires, whatever turns people on. The social graph is the spam controller and way to make connections.” They concluded by saying that “The social graph is so closely linked to communications, which has always been a utility model.”
What it means: thinking about social media and word-of-mouth, it’s clearly all about communication tools. That’s a very powerful insight for anyone involved in social media and local search. If you are, you’ll want to make sure your users have access to a variety of communication tools to broadcast, share and request recommendations.