March 23rd, 2006 by Alex

Via SMITH editor Rebecca Paoletti, news of a new social networking site for a more mature crowd - (It’s even got connections to NPR — my dad will be so excited.) Worth reading is this interview of the site’s CEO, Tom Gerace, from Behavioral Insider. It’s a little wonky, but the discussion of how social networking sites can be attractive to advertisers, and why, is pretty illuminating for anyone interested in this growing field. An excerpt:

BI: It seems that social networks would allow marketers to track and target a whole new layer of user behaviors, like their level of interactivity, standing in a community, rate of content creation, etc.

Gerace: The way we look at it is more akin to having key influencers in a group that are impacting the behavior of others. Advertisers are already catching on to that, using buzz generation mechanisms by hitting key influencers. One of the things Gather will be able to do is identify the most powerful networkers, the most respected authorities in a social network on a given topic, and create a specialized advertising product that allows advertisers to reach these folks. It allows them to leverage word of mouth, which is far more credible than media-based advertising. It is something we are spending a lot of time on.