Widgets…those pesky little viral applications that spread…well…like a virus, hunting you down via email while simultaneously polluting your Facebook page. Gosh-darn-it, some of these applications are damn useful, like CareerBuilder that allows me to track the emerging job market in Asia, or Qloud that enables me to stream all of my friend’s music for free. I mean, EVERYONE has Funwall! It won’t be long before the Funwalls of the world are brought to us by brands like Staples or OfficeMax. Anyone send an Elf-Yourself greeting last year? Elf-Yourself widget anyone? Sure beats another vampire bite! Anyone know what I am talking about? Make sense?

So, what does this all mean? First off, the smart brands have finally acknowledged that they have to bring value to consumers in order to build the relationships they crave. But are they ready to move to the next step? Building software.

The notion of building value via software takes on a larger psychological & sociological shift in the way we view media and how we connect with consumers. Marketers have had to literally pay their way into the public space via the media buy, but what if they were invited in by the consumer – which would be nothing short of a sociological revolution! This is waaaay bigger than the ‘Pull’ vs. ‘Push’ strategy. Imagine if Brand communications were as valuable as the products and services that we, the consumer, are willing to pay for…a brand extension of sorts. A new ‘soft’ SKU?

Think about it? Brands have access to API’s like any other developer. There is nothing stopping them from developing applications that will allow them unfettered and free distribution to the audiences of Facebook, Netvibes or the iPhone for example.

Now, I am sure that if Brands did start to go for this in a big way, that the Facebooks of the world would charge them a tariff of sorts. But in this world content is king and if a Brand is truly delivering something valuable to the platform’s viewer base, it suddenly has bargaining power…much more than it has ever had in the past.

This is what Steve Ballmer means when he talks about the fact that the lines between media and software are blurring.

Confused?…log onto Facebook and make sure you get a vampire bite. The effects are immediate and the transformation is forever lasting.

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