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Now do you believe social connections are currency??

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It’s actually fun to watch a hot trend move from hype to something that we simply expect. Big data will get there, hopefully soon, and social media is already arriving at that point. How do we know? Creativity. When the hype passes, the paradigm change has taken place in people’s minds and we start to see the application of solid business strategy to the execution of the idea.

We had spontaneous (and planned) creativity with the Oreo coup d’etat on Super Bowl Sunday amidst the blackout, but that was still a “gee whiz” moment for social media.

A breakthrough but not a business plan.

Social currency

But just last week, the 1888 Hotel in Sydney, Australia put up an offer for a free stay to Instagram users with more than 10,000 followers. This highly stylized hotel has an excellent business plan:

From a lobby that has a digital mural of Instagram shots to a space built specially for hotel guests to take selfies when they check in, the hotel is completely designed around the social media site.

The 1888 Hotel realizes that social connectedness is currency, a way a guest gives value to the hotel (a like on Instagram from a popular user) in exchange for a service (a room) no differently than Visa, Mastercard or cold, hard cash.

The API Economy

Going one step further, Ingrid Sanders in the Huffington Post describes this way: “As we head into a world of big data (the hot term of the moment at conferences), the value of social media is moving beyond simple PR and entertainment to become a stored asset translatable into real future value.” It becomes more than just the connections we accumulate. It becomes the value of the connectedness, which is currently rising at an exponential rate through the fast adoption of an API Economy:

As APIs become more ubiquitous, people become more comfortable with sharing data, and the social graph is opened to more and more applications, there will be tangible value to reap from developing your digital connections. Companies already recognize this as proven by the sale earlier this year of Buddy Media to Salesforce. They have been creating fan pages and mining data for years, but individuals are about to start benefiting as well.

Australia is apparently ahead of the game when it comes to turning social media into commerce. A recent infographic in socialmedia today lays out what they call the, “fastest growing marketplace on the planet.” Enjoy:

social_currency

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