The TED (Technology, Education, Design) website has recently posted Nicholas Christakis’s talk entitled “The Hidden Influence of Social Networks,” which we repost here for your consideration. His research began with the topic of obesity, but he has developed a model of social connectivity that affects our political and emotional behavior as much as our eating habits.
How might social networks?tap into and/or develop such
Ms. Hartshorn emphasizes the fact that the media should help develop the person-to-person networks that are behind the media. They are meant to carry a message ‘to’ people on the network, but the human connections OF the network are what disseminate the message still further:
Social media is more akin to a communication channel. It’s a format that delivers a message. Like television, radio or newspaper, social media isn’t a location that you visit. Social media is simply a system that disseminates information ‘to’ others.
With social networking, communication is two-way. Depending on the topic, subject matter or atmosphere, people congregate to join others with similar experiences and backgrounds. Conversations are at the core of social networking and through them relationships are developed.
From there, she points out some of the pitfalls of using the media to manipulate the network. A recurrent theme is that the sense of payback via social media has to be treated differently from social networking: we get no physical or tonal responses via the media (yet?), but the buzz generated surely has value. To keep that buzz going, users of social media must be prepared to invest time, especially increments of time to respond, develop, and share information: “Social media is definitely a marathon and not a sprint.” Although not mentioned in her post, we immediately thought of Seth Godin’s great concept of ‘permission marketing,’ which we have discussed before on this blog and which requires a building up of interests and relations as part of the long-term business model.
Finally, social media put a high expectation on reputation. True, one might lie one’s way across one’s Facebook page for a while, but once word is out the very network that supported the misleading or flaming posts will denounce and ostracize the culprit – do not let it happen to your organization. Or to us!