The rapid growth of social media has been amazing no question. If you recall MySpace when it was an IPO, the model for raising a social media network was established with some concrete definition. First Hollywood was called upon to show the public how they regularly stay in touch with each other. The younger generation jumped on board quickly and blew up the number of users. Shortly after those younger users, came the small businesses looking to attract customers. Then after business adopted social media, came the politicians. Even with that many people MySpace still struggled to cash in on advertising. The reason why is important to this very day.
MySpace went out and new social networks came in. Using nearly the same business model they went live one after the other. What developed was a wide range of social networking platforms that fall into two categories.
The first are those that profile users by accumulating tons of small pieces of information about the individual over a long time. The other is a platform designed for real time communication over a short period.
The first has longevity. Old posts are the bases of an ever evolving character development. It’s like a job interview which never ends. You are in a room selling yourself in perpetuity, without any idea of what the end outcome can be. The second has engagement. These platforms offer a mechanism to stimulate and gauge a response. These are no doubt an attractive platform for a skilled salesperson.
We are now at a point where both models of social networking platforms have saturated users to the point that most major social media sites have indicated stagnate levels of read content, but increasing levels of newly generated content. We may be at the global social media saturation point.
The current difficulty Twitter is experiencing is an indication of this. What is interesting is that Twitter would fall into the category of the real time engagement platform, which seems to be the one with the most conversion possibility. However, in its current state, Twitter has become the leading news dissemination platform with financial problems. How can this be? A platform designed to engage users in real time became a generator of news feeds. I think the explanation enforces my feeling that social media is saturated and much of the message posts on those sites have not been submitted by average users. I am only saying what everybody is already been thinking! Yes, social media is driven by language recognition software like http://www.antlr.org/ and professional trolls! There it is. Further, users have noticed that their two way communication does not fulfill their needs so they re-purpose social media into something else. In Twitter’s case it got re-purposed into an information portal. The platform now for the most part, generates news and users decide if it is of interest to read. This in effect kills the engagement model. What are you left with then? The answer is something, similar to Yahoo. To put the nail in the coffin, main stream media outlets have the lowest confidence levels ever in history among the public. If this trend continues, social media platforms will be stuck trying to hold traffic with content that the public has less and less interest in reading. It really comes at no surprise that social sites like Twitter are finding it hard to justify their value.
There is good news! Once Twitter finds an interested buyer, not doubt that it will get a new direction which will target a specific audience. Many of the current users may not be among that group and will fall back onto the other social platforms. What is going to happen is that the stagnation will vanish for a while and new content will get read once again. Yippie! A great opportunity may be just around the corner to get your product or services to the attention of the right customers. Don’t let is pass you by.
A client recently asked us to make an existing app more “appy”. That is the word they used. Strangely though, the app was already deployed to Google Play and iTunes. It was based on a cross platform framework and they were having difficulty getting changes published because of insufficient native code. So there seems to be the case that there can be just too much framework and not enough “appyness”. Hmm, what should a growing business which connects with its customers through an app do? Make it more “appy” of course.
None the less the trend we see these days is more towards native code and away from frameworks. I like this from a technical perspective because it puts more focus on programming languages. It makes sense from a business point of view as well. About a decade ago, Enterprise this and that was the trend. Much of it was driven by lots of cash for IT projects and the idea that Enterprise platforms already have the solution to problems you have yet to uncover. The “appy” trend will encourage business managers to better understand their needs and goals.
Finally some clarity! Thank goodness.
Antyhing SalesForce related is not cheap. Not consider integrating your CMS with SalesForce and the letter “c” drops right out of the alphabet. There is exponential effort in getting a sales lead started as there is maintaining the contact. Why not let customers interested in your services or products start their own contant information. This Sitefinity module is just the thing. It lets you convert the standard Sitefinity forms builder into a self help SalesForce kiosk that allows customers to create their own contact information. It really is worth the money.
If I had to pick right now which CMS is best, the answer would come from two questions. The first is, “Is it Windows based or LAMP?” The next question is, “how capable is the person/s managing the content?” There are not many Windows based CMS’s available in the market. Partially, because Sharepoint fills the need and smaller businesses mostly run on LAMP environments at a 30% discount from a Windows platform. However, PHP applications can run on IIS and so most of the emphasis moves to the second question.
How capable is the person/s managing the content? OK, sure Joomla, Sitefinity and others can give a admin the interface with which to change just about everything. These are all fine CMS applications and deployed across the globe. However, what about that start up or small business that needs to target a specific market? The full featured CMS’s will require too much training and or cost to quickly give such a business a specific online presence. As new businesses attack existing markets, they need to stand out from the rest by using responsive design and easy to change content. This gap is filled in nicely with ProcessWire CMS. It is amazing at supporting the concept of creating that custom template and wiring up a content administration pages to it. What clever engineering. Create a template and then insert placeholders for content interfaces that users can log into and make changes as needed. This really supports the idea of market driven development. This is just the sort of principle new businesses and startups are driven by. It is fast, highly customizable and agile in every sense from the business objective perspective.
Now developers, check this out. The template is straight html. PHP variables are placeholders for dynamic content. Those variables are pointers to predefine Fields, that are also HTML WYSIWYG controls. Actually not much software development is really needed other than for highly customized plugins.
ProcessWire is a CMS that makes highly speialized web design into an easily maintained website.
I really like the way SalesForce setup its REST API. The intuitive nature makes it simple and unnecessarily complex. Two main principles are involved. The first is the URL path to the SalesForce object. Next is the JSON serialization of that object posted to the URL. That’s it. SalesForce knows if it is an update insert, delete, or anything else. The reverse is true also. GET from the URL path to the object and de-serialize from the JSON string. Of course NOQL queries can be uses as well with the same technique. CRUD interfaces for the standard objects can be built in less than an hour on an MVC platform. Next to Entity Framework or Hibernate this is about as the easiest ORM one has to create manually.
I have worked with the SOAP services also and find it cumbersome in not only in overhead, but serialization of objects and security. These web services rely on before and after triggers which in themselves require some time to create, test and maintain. SalesForce, requires a minimum code coverage before any trigger changes can be pushed to production. This, over time, becomes an additional task and will diminish an organization’s agility during growth spirts.
For quick easy and reliable SalesForce integration, the REST API is the way to go.