SMO: Queen of Digital Darwinism (IV)

My Red Queen/SMO analogy carries further than when we consider it in terms of Digital Darwinism: SMO is a ruthless Queen, choosing who’s allowed to survive and reproduce in her kingdom. “Digital Darwinism” was coined by Evan Schwartz in 1999 in his book…Digital Darwinism. The term has been picking up steam in the last couple years as the new DotCom bubble has sent brands scrambling to “create good content”.

Some recent sources for Digital Darwinism: CNBC, Dawkins, Stanford article, New York Times and Booz Allen. (Razorfish did a slideshow but there’s no content so it’s useless without narration.)

The secret to “reproducing” in the web world is very similar to the real Darwinism. It’s about finding partners: businesses and sites. It’s about being the “fittest”: Having great content. It’s about resources: Money, bandwith, distribution channels. It’s about charm: Engagement, popularity, whatever it takes to win “mates”, other sites and KOLs, over. It’s about survival: Having the capital to keep your business going, whether through investment or revenue streams.

Thanks to the Wall Street bust, investors are hesitant to put money into stocks, meaning funds are being channeled into startups and tech companies. Which is great–the only real competitive advantages the US has are in tech, science and arable land. So resources are plentiful. The unemployment rate has driven many an internet savvy Gen X & Y into start-ups, so “partners” are plentiful. The personal branding movement has spurred a host of KOLS and bloggers, so “mates” are plenty. Revenue streams, however, are smaller. Though more money is going to online advertising, there is less actually revenue for the companies buying those ads.

So we have competition. Major, major competition, for eyeballs, for clicks, for “reproduction” of content across through social media streams. We have IPOs every other day, user interface changes, rush to metrics, analytics driven content creation and consumers wandering about the web, jumping in and out of communities, following and unfollowing, liking and unliking, trying to figure out how to process all this “Change”.

This is what’s driving most of the web innovation today. While new technology like the iPad gives us more tools to access content, its curation which is on the mind of most PR and digital strategy minds, as well as content providers. Hence the drastic changes we saw this week. I’ve spoken to many app creators over Twitter, and I know we’re going to see even more social browser and app innovations targeting content curation in the next couple months. This may be “Social Media Week”, but the real “Social” innovations will most likely appear during South by Southwest, as Foursquare did last year.

I’m like so friggin’ excited.


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