Revenue: Events in Social Networks

Want to know where money will come from, when everything is free? Well, one area is real time events.  Synchronous (happening now, not delayed) means you are either there or you miss out. No place shifting, time shifting, format shifting. So events become important. Sort of the opposite of a few years ago when concerts were free/cheap marketing drives to sell albums. Now albums sell concert tickets. Heh.

Don’t believe me? Go price good tickets to see Sting in Concert. I said good tickets, not ones in the back of the stadium, in the next suburb, staring at a dot in the distance. Then check out how much the whole of The Police/Sting album set are online. Less than $100 bucks?

If you don’t want to pay, sure, you can get the information for free, digitally. But it’s the real time social nature that speaks to us, calls us to live events.

Advertisers are learning more about using live events for product placement. Been to the theatre lately? Or maybe this is only in Edinburgh:

Pot Noodle the Musical at the Assembly Rooms, Edinburgh

It is financed by Unilever and written by the copywriters from Pot Noodle’s advertising agency: is this comedy or something sinister?

Product placement posing as product self-parody? An adman’s folly? Well, laughs can make you forgive a lot, but Pot Noodle The Musical (at the Assembly Rooms) is a rehydrated facsimile of Fringe fun.

It is not the cast’s fault, most of whom know how to play this mix of Hamlet, children’s TV and musical theatre.

The director, David Sant, uses his clowning background to pile on the bits of business, but the songs are so-so and the script is a phoney – facetious rather than comical, because it has no agenda.

To avoid it looking like an advertisement, the noodle content is low, but what takes its place is just random goofing around. What next? Cornetto The Opera? (

The link to the musical’s website is potnoodlethemusical.com.

Pot Noodle

In social networks, we often run events – real time chat with stars of the social network, Second Life concerts, even online poker tournaments that you pay an entry fee to join. Limited places!  limited sign up time! be quick or miss the boat!  If you run a social network, don’t discount ‘manufactured’ scarcity and short shelf life as a revenue stream. It can earn you surprisingly good revenue.

Makes me wonder why Apple is pulling out of MacWorld.

Tuesday’s news that Apple had announced that Steve Jobs wouldn’t be appearing at Macworld Expo and that the company would stop exhibiting at the show after 2009 came as a shock. I’m stunned that Apple has taken a 25-year-old event that has been the single best meeting place for the entire community of users and vendors of Apple-related products and treated it like a piece of garbage stuck to the bottom of its shoe. But I’m not really surprised: Apple has been leading up to this moment for a long time now.

Lot’s more here, at MacWorld magazine.  I think Apple misunderstands MacWorld. It’s not just the attendees – it’s the fact that they blog, and tweet and push a massive wave of information out. Apple’s attitude of “we have so many stores now, we don’t need Expos” just ain’t gonna cut it.

As for all the Trade Shows are Dead discussions (Google that term). Nah, not by a long shot. But they will change substantially – less broadcasty and foot traffic and more community focussed. Just ask the travel agents: as corporates pull out of travel, social networks form tour groups for their favourite events.

Which brings  me back to my point. Events in Social Networks are the future.

Laurel Papworth

Named by Forbes™ Magazine in the Top 50 Social Media Influencers globally, named Head of Industry, Social Media (Marketing Magazine™) and in the Power150 Media bloggers (AdAge™). CERT IV Training and Assessment certified trainer (Diplomas and Certificates etc) Adult Education. Laurel has manager Facebook Pages for Junior Masterchef, Idol, Big Brother etc. and have consulted on private online communities for banks Westpac, not for profits UNHCR & governments in SE Asia. Lecturer, social media, University of Sydney for 10 years and Laurel has 11,000 online students. Laurel Papworth personally connects to 6 million followers online and has taught around 100,000 people in the last 10 years how to be social media managers.

3 thoughts on “Revenue: Events in Social Networks

  1. There are some interesting comments on Way Cool Jnr’s recent blog about the future of digital music which fit very much with what you’re saying Laurel: http://www.waycooljnr.com.au/2009/01/07/the-future-of-digital-music/#comments

  2. I agree with this so strongly. Unfortunately I’ve had a great deal of difficulty convincing some of my employers in the publishing space that events have merit. Partly because a lot of publishing companies which didn’t originate on the web still don’t want to mix with their readers. And partly because they don’t realise that ‘live’ events help grow the online community.

    And it can certainly translate into a revenue stream if you do it right.

    Plus organising events is FUN! Maybe I should get some more formal/corporate experience in this area. 🙂

    Sarah Stokely’s last blog post..Upcoming event: Panel on Geek Parenting at LCA

  3. RT @SilkCharm: Trade shows are not dead http://twurl.nl/qn6qve Events online or offline are revenue earners for social networks.

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