Sent By: "Plaxo Pulse" email@example.com On April 1, 2008, 12:01 AM
Reply To: firstname.lastname@example.org
Joe Mandese wants to add you as a business connection on Plaxo's Pulse.
To accept this connection request, go to:
The Plaxo team
Hmmm, somehow I cannot see Brian Roberts accepting my invitation to Plaxo, even though the Comcast Corp. CEO is plunking down upwards of $175 million to acquire the social networking platform. That's part of the beauty of social networks - people have the right to ignore invitations. So apologies to all you Plaxo devotees whom I've ignored over the past couple of years. Ditto for you LinkedIn linkers, and MySpace cadets. I wasn't ignoring you, I just haven't seen the point of networking with you online when we can do so in person, via the phone, or through one-to-one email communication. So if you still want to connect, it's Joe Mandese, MediaPost, 4th floor, 1140 Broadway, New York, NY, 10001; 212.204.2009; email@example.com.
Alright, so I am on Facebook, but that was only because I was befriended by a couple of agency big shots like Initiative's Richard Beaven and Aegis' Sarah Fay, and I was afraid of incurring their wrath if I ignored them. Ask Richard how often we network via Facebook. Though, I have had a bit more interaction with Sarah, I still network better the old-fashioned way. So call me old school. I admit it. But I seem to be in the minority, which is why Comcast's acquisition of Plaxo is so intriguing to me.
It's the first move by a major cable TV operator I've seen to date that suggests it is genuinely interested in developing an open community, and doesn't see itself simply as a pipeline, albeit a fairly broad and powerful one. It's also a strong signal that Comcast no longer sees itself as a "walled garden" that can grow by tending what's inside its walls. It's a recognition that being a great conduit will only get you so far in the world of Media 2.0, and that the real opportunity isn't necessarily what you distribute, but what you can bring back in. For Comcast's shareholders, of course, that means a greater return on equity. For Comcast's subscribers, that means giving them the same utilities that they can get just as easily over the broadband-enabled Internet, but letting them do it seamlessly from any screen.
So call the acquisition of Plaxo part of Comcast's screen play, or triple play, or whatever you want to coin it. It's all part of a shift from being a coaxial or optical fiber utility, to being a hub that lets people utilize what they really want, when and where they want it - whether it's on a TV screen, a PC screen, or a hand-held mobile screen.
I'm not sure I understand all the implications of migrating a social networking platform like Plaxo into a television platform like Comcast's 24 million household cable system, but it clearly is going to have a big impact on the future of the small screen. What do you think?
And please answer either by replying to this TV Board post, or via my personal email. I'm feeling guilty enough ignoring all those Plaxo invites. Just as I'm sure Brian Roberts will ignore mine.