Social media is evolving into a soundbite stream

Twitter started it…tweets replaced long form commentary. Messaging efficiency trumped the blog discourse. Now with Facebook Places charging out of the gate, we’ll soon see that the simple 10-second “check-in” process now becomes a value statement. In aggregate, 100 check-ins at a venue becomes “buzz” currency. It will impact restaurants, conferences, ski resorts, hotels, retailers… and make them compelling and attractive to the public. Beyond the act of the check-in, a series of simple Tweet-length “tips” may be as credible as a NY Times restaurant review.

Foursquare

That’s because crowdsourcing always requires critical mass adoption to be perceived as statistically relevant. A 4-star restaurant with 100 Yelp reviews is deemed far more credible than a 5-star restaurant with 3 reviews. The inevitable massive adoption of Facebook Places / Foursquare and soundbite “tips” will turn paragraph length Yelp and Trip Advisor reviews into heavy reading. Soundbites are as credible as lengthy reviews simply because there are more of them and they are up-to-date.

All local businesses are fair game. Retailers will not only amass lots of commentary and tips, but their best or worst employees will also be praised or damned just because it’s easy to thumb type a few words. And consumers will ask for the best by name. The DMV might set up a wait time feed that automatically updates on Places. In real estate, open houses will receive instant feedback from lookers. Applications galore.

Long form commentary – blogs, books, research – still serve the same purposes for explanation and analysis (you’re reading this after all). It’s just that most people would rather do this in short form.

About Pat Kitano

Patrick Kitano works with brands in developing hyperlocal engagement solutions and is administrator of the Breaking News Network, a national hyperlocal network devoted to community service. He is the author of The Local Network on Street Fight, and is reachable via Twitter @pkitano and email pkitano@gmail.com.