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Social Media: Power By The Hour

by Dan Robles on March 3, 2010

Making human knowledge and intentions tangible in a market place opens up the possibility of a whole new class of business plans. We call this Social Power by the Hour.

A Social Trifecta

1. Obviously, Social Media is powerful.

2. Fractional ownership or rental of assets is an emerging trend in our environmentally, geographically, and monetarily constrained economy.

3.Vendor Relationship Management (Doc Searles) promises to change the shape of traditional advertising in the future.

What if we combined all three?

ZipCar is an excellent example of the fractional membership for automobile transportation. There are many advantages but also huge drawbacks. $7.00 per hour is a lot to add to a casual lunch at a sidewalk café or any social experience. Then there are all the lost options like the one-way-trip, guaranteed availability, all those rules and regulations. So, it’s pay now or pay later.

Social memberships

What if your friends in the social network also had ZipCar memberships and the scheduling were interchangeable? Suppose you could find a ZipCar anywhere and park one anywhere?

Now, enter the Vendor of goods and service. What if the Vendor were to subsidize the cost of the ZipCar to bring 4 people into the restaurant, club, or event? What if amusement parks, zoos and art exhibitions helped pay for full car-loads of friends to drive themselves to events?

The Vetting Mechanism:

What if the real social value of the ZipCar could be compared to car ownership for each intended trip? How would this influence your decision to drive, plan, or combine events into your user experience? What if Vendors could influence that cost to drive incentives?

Power By The Hour Game

The Above schematic is What I’ll Call the Social Media Power by the Hour Game. Everyone is part of the same social network and can talk to each other. Each Box represents a player that can influence the cost of the power by the hour. The True Value Calculator keeps score by comparing each transaction value to the equivalent car-ownership or public transportation value.

Set your filters and wait for the proposition…

Instead of scheduling, everyone (including passengers, vendors, social network) start by setting a bunch of filters that represent their approximate intentions. The system compares the intentions with ZipCar locations and compares it to the True Value Calculator. When a suitable transaction is in play, all the players are notified.

Once the game starts and enough people play, statistically, there should be ZipCars distributed proportionally around the city and all vendors will be managing their marketing campaign with 100% ROI on their impressions. The system will become a self optimizing money game.

A fully convertible currency

At first, this may seem like an application to sell ZipCar memberships, but actually, it is selling odds and entrepreneurs are placing bets. The ZipCar is simply a mechanical device that converts social currency into money.

A few Scenarios:

Scenario 1: When a vendor notices a group of friends going to the mall, they can pay for part of the ZipCar with a lunch coupon.

Scenario 2: Amusement park or event promoter can see when a family has no plans and can offer a free ZipCar to them

Scenario 3: The bigger your social network, the cheaper it becomes for you to drive a car

Scenario 4: Vendors can bid for the ZipCar audience with Packages of discounts, coupons and also earn impressions and trust.

Scenario 5: Friends can see what other friends are doing and can jump in the same ZipCar

Scenario 6: ZipCars can be parked densely at events since you will not necessarily leave in the same car that you came in.

Scenario 7: As soon as you park, the zip car becomes available for someone else. As soon as you need one, there is a high probability one is parked close by.

Scenario 6: ZipCar options can be traded like currency to buy things on, say, Craigslist

And many many many more……..

End result: The bigger your social network, the cheaper your Power By the Hour. The bigger the social network, the more effective WOM marketing becomes. The bigger the social network, the more options are available to users. The greater the social network, the more SOCIAL VALUE a ZipCar membership will have in comparison to independent car ownership. The bigger the social network, the more social currency can trade hands as the Dollar fails.

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