The Future of Social Commerce: Give the “Interest Graph” a Whrrl

18 months ago, social commerce was no more than a twinkle in the eyes of many businesses, and whilst many still have yet to add a social layer to how they sell in order to improve customer experience, the Zeitgeist-surfing digirati are already asking what comes next.  Om Malik is the founder of the influential GigaOM Network and thinks that the “Interest Graph” is what comes next after social commerce

So what is the “Interest Graph”?  Well, if the social graph is a sociogram mapping people and their relationships, then an interest graph is an infogram mapping people and their interests.  Think Twitter, not Facebook.  Think enthusiast magazine, not college year book. The business opportunity is to generate value (discovery, validation, recommendation) for and from people with shared interests rather than shared contacts.

Built on top of the social graph, rather than distinct from it, a person’s interest graph may include personal contacts, but also experts, celebrities and public figures – people we consider trustworthy sources.  As Guy Kawasaki notes, we trust people who are knowledgeable and competent, and whilst we may trust our friends to tell us the truth as they see it, sometimes we trust experts more; would you rather trust a group of friends to conduct a little brain surgery on you or have a neurosurgeon do it?  Same goes for shopping.  You need metacritic not user reviews or friend feedback.  And you want Nike+ with track Olympians participating, not without them.

As a result, Om Malik believes that the formula ‘interest graph + commerce  = transactions’ may be more powerful than ‘social graph + commerce = transactions’. It’s an interesting hypothesis, and similar to something we suggested a year ago – in the four corners of social influence (experts, celebrities, friends, customers), and why we thought Beachmint was (and still is) a glimpse into the future of social commerce.

Social Commerce & the Four Corners of Social Influence


If the future of social commerce is with the interest graph, then Groupon’s purchase of Whrrl, the location-based check-in service based on people’s interests, this week, could be the shape of things to come.  More broadly, there will be opportunities for using tried and tested social commerce tools, notably group-buy, social network stores and curated reviews, within specific industry verticals (or rather ‘interest verticals’). Think specialist group-buy sites for business areas, sports, hobbies etc.

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  1. April 21, 2011

    For some time, I’ve been using the term “shared interest marketing” when referring to social media as a marketing channel. For example, I suggest to clients that they join interest or affinity-based groups in Facebook, LinkedIn and elsewhere, not for the purpose of hitting group members over the head with a marketing mallet, but to build relationships that can, eventually, lead to business transactions.

    What you are referring to takes shared interest marketing to an entirely new, more scientific level. I’m glad to see the expert voice still plays an important role and that it’s not merely the influence of friends and family that tips consumers into making a purchase decision.

  2. […] see six (not four) pillars to the social influence dynamic that are worth being conscious of as you plan your social […]

  3. […] couldn’t agree more with Christian; his vision a variation on what we and Om Malik term the ‘interest graph‘.  With the ubiquitous new sentiment-hyperlink (we like the […]

  4. […] Share this:TwitterFacebookLike this:LikeBe the first to like this. This entry was posted in Uncategorized by leapb4ulook. Bookmark the permalink. […]

  5. […] Global media and marketing services company, Mindshare, part of the WPP Group along with Syzygy has just published a new 44 page report on the future of social commerce.  It’s a nice distillation of much of the thinking here in Social Commerce Today and picks up on the central themes of our new book just published The Social Commerce Handbook that the future of social commerce is social utility – and the power of the ‘interest graph‘  […]

  6. August 26, 2014

    Thanks for delivering this sort of great information.

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