Social Communication – The Marriage of Social Media and Telecom

 Jeff wrote a great  post about the way that telecom and social networks would merge in 2008. This topic is extremely interesting for me, both as a social media user and creator, and as IMTC VP Marketing.

For me, the first simple stage of this marriage – that I call social communication, is based on two main features – Presence and unified address book:

Presence – I’d like to merge all my status messages, and at the same time create differentiation between the different types of contacts I have. I’d like to define who would see that I am busy, not just say that I am. I’d like to update my status on all networks, sites and applications from a centralized source, targeting the right status to the right person, based on the level or type of connection I have with him/her.

Unified Address Book – I have connections in my LinkedIn network, Facebook, Xing, Outlook, and mobile phone. Why should I bother to differentiate between them? For me, I have only two considerations: who do I need to contact and in which format (synchronous voice conversation, voice mail, video conferencing, mail or IM). I don’t want to know what is his/hers "address" in any of these different means of communication. Who cares about telephone numbers, email address, IM nick names, and social networks entities? I just want to connect to the other person.

The one who would achieve that would change the way of communication as we know it. Can it be done by a small company? How would Standard bodies affected and effected from this process? I have no clue.

But one thing is certain.It is about time that Telecom companies understand that Facebook, LinkedIn and other social networks change the way people interact. They can ignore that – or be a part of the change. But they can’t stop it.

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10 Responses to “Social Communication – The Marriage of Social Media and Telecom”

  1. 1 Shantanu January 2, 2008 at 11:35 pm

    Agree totally with the combination of presence and policy (to control who sees you and how they can contact you) – I would go so far as to say that without policy, presence is un-deployable. The most valuable presence information is for people who are the most busy, and those people would end up being constantly pinged if everyone could see when they are available. The correct answer to “Are you available” is “who’s asking?” 😉

    Interesting concept of social media meeting communication. I’m increasingly beginning to look at communications as a service that can be triggered in multiple ways. One of those is directory numbers, and another could very well be social media. Thus “connect endpoint A to endpoint B” can be triggered by “call 5633” being resolved to endpoint B, or by “find a buddy that knows about telecom and is online right now”
    being resolved to endpoint B. Either way, the communications infrastructure should be able to set up a communications session between the two endpoints without caring about how it was triggered.

  2. 2 Eric Dean January 2, 2008 at 11:39 pm

    Telecom companies don’t “get” applications. That’s why the apps are created in the first place. Hell, the Internet was full commercialized within a decade after deregulation. At best, telecom companies will be network plumbers that provide all you can drink bandwidth and the applications will remain un-metered.

    When you discuss presence, I’m not sure that a single-presence system will work…instead you can have a client like email, Trillian….that maintains your difference presences. I’m a consultant with 4 clients and need to maintain each presence separately as well as my personal Internet method as well.

    Open Enterprise presence management poses the same problems as email spam or ENUM advertising inbound VoIP. Companies don’t know how to manage these types of services…though click-to-chat with a sales-rep seemed more common during the holidays. The efficiencies (especially with offshoring and skills-based routing) is clear but the implementation as well as B2B architecture is still in the works.

  3. 3 Aswath January 3, 2008 at 1:37 am


    I think with the scheme Kfir is suggesting for maintaining different presence information to different people you can maintain different presence information for different clients under a single system. For example, if you use EnThinnai, you can group your clients into four groups and assign specific “Availability status” for each group.

    If one uses OpenID to authenticate originator of a message/session, then I feel we can control SPAM/SPIT very effectively.

  4. 4 Tsahi Levent-Levi January 3, 2008 at 6:15 am

    Aswath – I don’t see a system where I need to assign a specific “Availability status” for each group as a usable system.
    An effective and useful presence system should provide the following aspects in my view:
    1. Being able to report presence on different networks
    2. Being able to understand the different types of contacts I have
    3. Being able to report different status for different contacts by knowing my behavior as a person

    The third one is an important aspect. As long as I have to decide what is my status for each group – this will be unusable as the granularity of the system won’t work.
    The system need to learn my likes and dislikes and the way I treat my contacts in different situations and act upon it.

  5. 5 רמקול January 3, 2008 at 9:50 am


    Again our technical paths merge, and this time it’s closer than ever. Do you have any other industry experts supporting your theory of social communication marriage?


  6. 6 Jeff Pulver January 3, 2008 at 5:24 pm

    Hi Kfir,

    I was with you until you used the word “Telecom.”

    From my perspective, Telecom + Social Media = a future not worth exploring. Nor would it be a disruptive future.

    I agree Presence and Directory and Reachability are amongst the things the social communications revolution will have a direct effect on. But please keep the word “telecom” out of the discussion.

    In a world where “Voice is just an Application”, the time has come to focus on connecting people with people. Let’s rely on IP based networks and keep away from the limitations put upon us by having to consider connecting to and with the legacy telephone network.


    Warm regards, Jeff

  7. 7 Russell Steed January 3, 2008 at 8:10 pm

    More and more I find myself in the social communications area everyday as well as my friends and family. I think merging my status and contacts makes perfect since and would make my day much easier. I also agree Shantanu on policy.

  8. 8 Kfir Pravda January 4, 2008 at 8:56 am

    Lior – as you can see, these opinions have some traction in the industry…
    Jeff – agree. Maybe telecom is a part of this process. Can’t we have Social SS7?

    I believe that we should at least try to bring all key players to the table and see if there is a way to create an industry wide cooperation…

  9. 9 Aswath January 4, 2008 at 9:54 pm

    Tshai, we are in agreement. The problem was with my use of “you can assign”. This gives the impression that it is done by a human being. But in reality it would be one or more agents, both humans and software.

  1. 1 EnThinnai Blog » Blog Archive » Initial Steps in Social Communications Trackback on January 3, 2008 at 1:27 am

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