Kara Swisher

Recent Posts by Kara Swisher

AOL Expands Socialthing to Warner Bros. TV While Prepping New Release of ICQ and AIM

half-width-200

AOL–which recently has been putting its Socialthing lifestreaming service on a large number of AOL-run Web sites, moving it beyond its Bebo social network–will announce this morning that it will also be launched on another Time Warner (TWX) property.

According to a press release, Socialthing will also now be part of the Web sites of the Warner Bros. Television Group, including CWTV.com, TheWB.com, KidsWB.com, DCHeroZone.com, Essence.com and Momlogic.com.

But, more significantly, sources said, AOL’s People Networks has new versions of its AIM and ICQ messengering clients ready that it is preparing to launch soon with new, more robust and socialized features.

aim_logojpgicq_logojpg

While it is not clear when that launch will take place, sources said it is aimed at keeping the popular communications tools–AIM has about 45 million active users–competitive with highly social tools offered by Twitter and Facebook.

Socialthing is a key part of that spreading of social elements wherever a user is, such as a Web site, allowing real-time activity to be communicated directly from the site.

AOL, in its press release, said: “Socialthing will make it easy to sign-on, allowing users to login to sites using their AOL or AIM credentials, without having to create a new account. In the future, users will also be able to log into Socialthing using their Facebook, Gmail, Yahoo! or OpenID credentials. Users can publish their online activities in a real-time feed that is distributed to their friends for the immediate sharing of experiences.

Here’s the official press release on the latest launch of Socialthing:

WARNER BROS. TELEVISION GROUP AND AOL COME TOGETHER ON SOCIALTHING

Warner Bros. Television Group to Implement Advanced Suite of Social Networking Services Across Digital Destinations Such as CWTV.com, TheWB.com, KidsWB.com, DCHeroZone.com, Essence.com and Momlogic.com

NEW YORK and BURBANK, Calif. (May 05, 2009)–AOL today announced that Warner Bros. Television Group (WBTVG) will launch Socialthing™, a new online platform for socializing websites across WBTVG’s digital destination businesses, such as CWTV.com , TheWB.com , KidsWB.com , DCHeroZone.com , Essence.com and Momlogic.com . Socialthing leverages the power of AIM’s social graph coupled with advanced community tools to enable social networking publishers to attract new users and keep them engaged on their site. The announcement was made today by Joanna Shields, President of AOL People Networks, and Craig Hunegs, Executive Vice President, Business Management, Warner Bros. Television Group.

“AOL is enabling leading media brands such as Warner Bros. Television Group to tap into the power of the social graph by combining the strength and global reach of our messaging networks with our powerful social networking tools,” said Shields. “With Socialthing, fans can converse and connect around hit TV shows such as ‘Gossip Girl’ and broadcast their passion and opinions to anyone across the Internet.”

“Warner Bros. is excited to be working with Joanna and her team,” added Hunegs. “Socialthing, combined with the stories and programs on our sites, will create a powerful and engaging combination of content, community and conversation for our users.”

The Socialthing pact will offer WBTVG and its digital entertainment destinations immediate access to AOL’s global messaging network of 57 million* monthly AIM and ICQ users. WBTVG will embed the Socialthing platform–free to users and requiring no installation or download–on its family of sites, creating a social experience that makes it easy for users to share content, connect with one another, and explore common passions in a number of ways:

Socialthing will make it easy to sign-on, allowing users to login to sites using their AOL or AIM credentials, without having to create a new account. In the future, users will also be able to log into Socialthing using their Facebook, Gmail, Yahoo! or OpenID credentials.

Users can publish their online activities in a real-time feed that is distributed to their friends for the immediate sharing of experiences. WBTVG will use this feed to create online identities for characters from its popular TV shows, such as Serena van der Woodsen or Blair Waldorf from “Gossip Girl,” enabling fans to follow not only their friends’ lives, but also their favorite characters’ lives online. WBTVG will also post breaking news into the feed, delivering the latest information instantly to fans and spurring further discussion.

Built-in communications tools will enable users to connect with buddies and other fans through AIM within the environment of the WBTVG site they have come to visit, allowing them to remain at their target destination without having to leave the site experience for another domain. Socialthing users can meet up with fans in chatrooms using the embedded AIM chat client, or speak directly to buddies via the built-in Instant Messenger. Users can connect and converse with all of their friends and other fans, and broadcast these activities to anyone on the web, if they choose, via the real-time feed.

Socialthing also makes it easy for users to share video, photos, articles and comments with their friend networks, starting with the AIM network and in the future adding other top networks including Facebook, Twitter and MySpace. Whether it’s a hot new shot from “Gossip Girl” at CWTV.com, a new episode of “Rockville CA” at TheWB.com, fashion and beauty advice from Essence.com, the “Conception Diaries” video series at Momlogic.com, or a new superhero game from KidsWB.com or DCHeroZone.com, Socialthing easily turns content into conversation and will allow users to deliver video and images to friends.

AOL and WBTVG will support the Socialthing launch with cross-promotion and anticipate launching the application on CWTV.com, on WBTVG’s digital entertainment destinations, and on AOL properties. The campaign will raise consumer visibility for the application and drive fans to the destinations for exclusive opportunities they can’t find anywhere else. More details will be forthcoming in the coming weeks.

While Socialthing delivers users a high degree of interactivity and visibility, users remain in full control of their publishing activity. They may choose to “always share activity,” “never share it” or “always be asked before sharing,” and can select which privacy option best suits their individual needs.

A site has been created at http://socialthing.com/forwebsites allowing publishers, interested in enabling Socialthing on their sites, to gain further information and insight into the platform.


Latest Video

View all videos »

Search »

There was a worry before I started this that I was going to burn every bridge I had. But I realize now that there are some bridges that are worth burning.

— Valleywag editor Sam Biddle