Each time you use Facebook you create information goods—for Facebook. “Like” something while listening to Spotify and the information has economic value. Does a certain song make you Like something? Wouldn’t a business pay to know your Likes? Are some songs more valuable than others if they make us Like things? What if some people’s Likes turn out to be more valuable than others?
Likes can be thought of as “Social Jingles.” They help companies sell stuff. The creatives that invented jingles for commercials discovered all this decades ago. The Rolling Stones actually sang Rice Krispies jingles when they were starting out in the early 60s. But the Stones got paid. Shouldn’t you?
The analytics to figure all this out is here…but social media companies are using your social jingles royalty-free for their own economic benefit. It’s only a matter of time before someone turns the tables on them.
The Like button was born a few years ago and now Facebook saves your Likes in case they contain hidden treasure. Your Likes will be correlated with your social map. Social analytics could be the ‘Moneyball’ of advertising. But here’s the deal: You created the information. It exists only because you interacted on a social network. Now companies create products and pitches based on information you created while socializing on coffee breaks.
If big business gets hooked on our Likes can we charge them a fee to interact on a social network? It may dawn on us someday that we created all the content on social media. It may not. In the meantime Facebook is accumulating trillions of bits of information and storing it for future monetization. In the first 5 months of the Like feature Facebook stored 5 billion instances of people listening to songs while online. The “Like” feature is only one of the ways they make money on information goods that you produce.
Soon the most important workers in social media will be IT people who know how to capture, store, and manage oceans of social data. But for now, social tech is so busy capturing free information it has no time to think about smart ways to make money with it. The amount of information is too vast. But be aware that for now at least, your social business strategy is a royalty-free gift to Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, et al.
It makes us wonder—do we own our creations or are we all minor leaguers on Facebook’s ‘Moneywall?’
See this Technology Review article for more: What Facebook Knows