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Thursday, July 12, 2007

A Basic Lesson On Marketing To The "Wego" (Web Ego)

I2m_socialmediabio_wego_2 Raise your hand if you have heard the term "blego."  Ok, that's probably not a good experiment since I can't see you ... but it's an increasingly common word being used to describe the hyperactive egos of many bloggers.  It's becoming a negative word, often referring to the qualities of some bloggers to be judgemental, narrow minded and arrogant.  Yet some amount of ego makes us human.  We all want to be appreciated, recognized or feel important.  As each of our personalities and identities continue to move online - our sense of self worth and ego are moving online too - only not just through blogging.  Having a blog is not as important as having a profile.  And there are many more people who have these profiles on sites like LinkedIn, MySpace, Facebook, and thousands of others. These profiles, as well as blogs and sites that you update, make up what you could call your "wego" - or web ego.  Whether you buy the word for it, or only the idea ... the fact that individual identity is moving online is undeniable.  Just check out my social media bio (pictured at left) for my own personal example. 

As with any trends like this, there are lots of opportunities for marketing if you understand what is motivating people online.  To a large part, it is this concept of ego online and how it relates to being appreciated, recognized and admired.  To get you started, here are 3 methods that some sites are already using to connect with the rapidly expanding wegos of their users:

  1. Get "friended" - This may be the most common way to engage someone's web ego online ... by creating some sort of profile online in a social network and letting people connect to you.  The phenomenon of "friending" someone on MySpace is an example of this.  Connecting on LinkedIn or "poking" on Facebook are also good examples.  For many social networks, the number of individuals you know and connect to in the network is a sign of how connected you are.  Smart marketers use this basic fact in their favour.  Who's Doing It? - Facebook, MySpace, LinkedIn
  2. Offer a branded badge - In the military (or the boy scouts), your badges or stripes are one way that people can identify your skills and ranking.  Early on, those groups understood and fostered their member's need to have a way of broadcasting their identity.  Badges for blogs or online profiles are a similar phenomenon.  Got a list that you have included people on?  Give them a graphic to place on their blog or profile to show they are a member of it.  This also works well to identify groups that you belong to, events you are attending, communities you belong to, or causes you believe in.  Who's Doing It? - 9Rules, Blogburst, Global Voices Online
  3. Create widgets for ranking or rating - One of the silliest widgets that made it onto my sidebar last year was the "This blog is worth ..."  graphic.  It was not updated automatically, the code had to be cut and pasted and it was based on an outdated model of equating links in Technorati to the sale price for Weblogs, Inc, but everyone had it.  At the time, it filled a need--and that need was for bloggers to somehow tell everyone visiting their blog how important or influential they were.  Now we have Technorati widgets, counters, and Feedburner subscriber stats to tell the same story.  Who's Doing It? - Technorati, Feedburner,

What are some other examples of marketing to the wego that you know of?


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Hey, nice post, I am new to your blog and your RSS is going straight to my netvibes

Hey Rohit, good take on how the web brings out even more of our egos! I remember surfing around once not too long ago and happening upon a website that listed some sort of organism hierarchy in terms of the blog world! So, if you were part of the A list, you might be considered a big fish or something but if you were less influential you might be a single celled organism. Funny stuff! People have put their "status" on their blogs to show what they are. I'll have to find it.

Hi Rohit! First time visit for me, but your blog entry appeared in my Google alert and the title caught my eye. Other than the honor roll of weblogs nothing comes readily to my mind, but I enjoyed your post. (The little badge thing is interesting lol!). Thanks for a great read :)

great post ! I've used it for a post in my italian blog


Digg is likely one of the most overt forms of wego - your content is better or more popular than others, so we'll post it on our front page. Any voting structure carries with it a chance to be part of the intelligentsia and inner sanctum of in-the-know. I can remember some stat that said 50% of Digg's front page is from the same 15-20 people (don't quote me on that)

Although there isn't one site that promotes memes, there have a been a number of blog-based memes over the last year that have created wego - the Z-list being most prominent. The Age of Coversation collaborative book is also producing a meme like effect for its contirbutors and friends.

I'm currently organizing one that is creating wego for canadian marketing/media/digital bloggers in the form of a bracket-based competition, i'll spare all the details - but its appeal as a friendly match is to generate exposure and wego for its 128 particpants:

Hope this the business Agent Wildfire - used to be positioned as Canada's Influential Marketing Expert until I ceded to the buzz gods and now we're Canada's Word of mouth experts


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