Here's a very very long article in the NY Times (reg. req'd) from Sunday about the elusive "millenials" (people born between 1980 and 2000). If anyone believes that the consumer behavior model and the media landscape isn't fragmenting and radically changing should read this article.
This emerging consumer behavior model is the inspiration for the upcoming Drilling Down event.
Here's another NY Times piece on online "recommendations" (a cousin of what used to be called "social networking" and now is more appropriately and inclusively called "community"):
This is the now well-documented "long tail" (I'm sorry for saying it again), in action:
At NetFlix, the online DVD rental company, for example, roughly two-thirds of the films rented were recommended to subscribers by the site – movies the customers might never have thought to consider otherwise, the company says. As a result, between 70 and 80 percent of NetFlix rentals come from the company's back catalog of 38,000 films rather than recent releases.
A collaborative filtering mechanism (pioneered on a large scale by Amazon) is one solution to the emerging problem of media fragmentation—what's interesting to me is what's interesting to my friends/community/people like me.
The so-called millenials are notoriously oriented toward community and use technology as a way to reach out to and manage their relationships with their friends. And to the extent that marketers can get into the fiber of those communities (which is Yahoo!'s meta strategy) it could pay off well. But whatever the "it" that is being marketed or sold is must be relevant and very highly targeted.
For this audience, irrelevant marketing is ignored or, worse, destroys credibility.