One piece of advice that I am constantly impressing upon the marketers with whom I work is to be careful of being so focused on social networking that you miss the next big thing. If I were writing this blog two years ago, the focus would have been entirely on ... well, blogs. And there was a time when everybody had to have a blog. Those who became myopic about it are the ones who lost out pole position on MySpace, Facebook, Twitter and so on. You need to keep your sights on the horizon.
And I spot something on the horizon that has me wondering. I recently posted a status update that said "Could Mafia Wars Kill Facebook?" I was receiving so many Mafia Wars updates from friends that it was becoming annoying. A friend's response to my post informed me that you can turn Mafia Wars off. You can effectively block any app/game of your choosing from appearing in your feed. This I had not known.
But this got me thinking. How many other of my friends are tolerating Mafia Wars in their feed? How many Farmville updates are eeking into our collective consciousness? And aside from those two, what are the most pervasive social games?
Find them. Own them.
What if your notification said "Summer Day has sent you movie passes to an AMC theater on Mafia Wars," or "You have received an invitation to Mafia Wars, brought to you by "Thugs Life," in theaters October 18." I don't know anything about Farmville, but what if you could use a Caterpillar tractor to sow your seeds, or sell what you grow at your local Ralphs, a sponsored Web community?
As much as I find these games have infiltrated my Facebook feed, I haven't found that any advertising has infiltrated these games. And getting your brand inside one, is like loading up the old Trojan Horse and rolling right into Troy. Let the games begin.