There has been a lot of discussion to understand the social ecosystem that has been built around a person’s online existence. Because of my interest in anthropology and sociology, I spend a significant amount of my time studying online trends. What’s most interesting is that when you start plotting your social network on a graph it comes up with such an intertwined complex network consisting of different platforms and nodes – all relevant to your online existence in some way or another.
A lot of people have used complicated ways to illustrate our online social maps. In theory it’s actually quite simple. If you think about the different websites or applications that you use, you’ll notice that there is an actual thing (or object) that forms the basic cohesive power that fuels the passion users have in common.
When I go to Wikipedia, the object is information. When I go to Ebay, the object is the product. When I go to Flickr, the objects are the pictures. The objects are the underlying value that the site offers and differentiates itself with. Websites that forget to focus on an object, lose the attention of end users. Attention being a web properties most valuable asset, before trust.
The reason why we call them objects is because we want you to feel like they are actual entities that form the heart of the application. Building your own online business community is no different. What passion brings your community together to want to social network around what object, what goals do they share?
The first thing we do as part of our service to clients, is figure this out.
In practice, when we start figuring it out we usually realize that Milgram’s “Six Degrees of Separation” theory isn’t that far from reality. The way the internet has evolved – specifically web 2.0 technologies – we can effectively reach out to people we could never have previously dreamed of. The important thing for us to learn on your behalf is how to make the most of these online networks without giving away or risking too much.