Social Jingles

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.

Cameron Marlow – Facebook’s resident “socialologist” …Photo/Technology Review

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.

Ethyn Bakshy socializing at Facebook headquarters (TR)

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.

Sameet Agarwal data management wizard at Facebook (TR)

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


3 thoughts on “Social Jingles

  1. The issue with Facebook and all those other information hungry monsters is that they can only take a photograph of a moment. People change, their lives change, their interests change. Not to mention there is an awful lot of false information put out. Information is only good at this moment in time, past information is junk.


    1. Junk information can have shockingly long shelf-life in money terms. Erich Von Daniken’s “Chariots Of The Gods” was published in 1968, has sold over 63 million copies, and shows no sign of letting up making it one of the biggest selling books in history. Facebook may not care whether the information they gather is junk or not as long as someone will pay for it.

      But your point is well-taken. A more equitable financial arrangement between the creators of information (us) and the businesses that need information to make things we’ll want to buy could mitigate falsification. Especially falsification of intent. The failure to pay members for the data they create is the Achilles heel of today’s social networks. Pay-for-play may be the secret weapon. For now all social networks are exposed to an outlier that will pay for interactions.


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