Some thoughts on the recent announcements from Bebo, which we have been well behind commenting on. For which apologies.
Well a week or so ago, Bebo confounded the industry once again announcing deals with BBC, C4, MTV, ITV and others (in fact the whole traditional broadcast media industry). If you missed it ... er, where were you ... and here is the piece in The Guardian.
The new deal means that Bebo users will be able to grab clips of shows from any of these media owners and can then share it with others - on their Bebo pages through the various media owners' proprietary media players. Which is rather clever.
What struck us about it all, however, was the way that social networks are gradually becoming the very epitomy of the personal web - all brought to users in one place. They are becoming the very thing that portals thought they could be ... but far more personal than those early pioneers of web content.
Think about it ... you have one page where is served access to all your friends and contacts on the web (you can contact them, network with them and share images and pics with them), games and other silliness, events information, join groups together around shared interests and, in some cases, even shop.
Now you can start to put content into those very same pages - film, music, images and, with the latest deals, TV content as well.
Basically, this new deal puts the social networks in pole position to become the very centre-point of a personal experience of the internet: a single page in which, on the one hand, users can select their own content and share it with others, while on the other, big businesses can test and trial new content, new ideas, new forms of interactivity based on some seriously in-depth information about a user's interests (just think about how much your Facebook page gives away about what you are really into if a media owner wanted to know).
Anyhow, our sense is that right here and now, Bebo (and a lot of its social networking counterparts) is poised to become the centre-point of a profoundly personal experience of the web. Who knows, perhaps they really could be the unlikely deliverers of a truly individual internet experience.
(Brief apologgy ... we were buggered if we could find a big enough version of the new, earless, Bebo logo. But then we quite like the old one above).