Why Social Networks work
What do social networks like Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, MySpace, bebo, and even to a certain extent, e-mail and text messaging have in common?
That question was asked at here. The answer was status. Specifically, the updating to your network, of status.
Take Facebook. There’s a feature in Facebook literally called ‘Status Update’. It starts with “Matt is…” and asks for an update. Do my Facebook friends care that “Matt is looking outside and seeing a friggin blizzard”? Alternatively, do I care that my friend “Nikki is relaxing”?
That’s debatable, but we’ll get back to it.
Twitter is essentially the Facebook status feature taken to the network level. A Twitter post is “It’s snowing”, or, “Thankfully I brought my lunch today, cause it’s snowing”. Both are updates about the minutia of life.
So here’s the point: (from This Blog Sits at The)
When people status-cast, they’re updating said minutia on a macro level to their network. You may not care that I am “wishing I had a meeting in Atlanta.”, but knowing this tells you I exist, my location, my condition, my status.
For young people who are trying to fit in their networks, updating status is important. It’s downright critical to be heard.
Facebook, MySpace, bebo and Twitter status updates are passive updates that help young people get heard. A blog posting is a passive status update with more detail.
I think this updating of status is important to young people. But I also think it’s important to do it using a passive media.
Consider a more active update: I could send out an e-mail to everyone in my network telling them there’s a blizzard here. Alternatively, I could blast a text messages to everyone with a Facebook-like weather update.
That’s active. But it feels like I’m selling myself, ie, I’m trying to hard.
As we Marketers get into the realm of social networks, we should understand the reason young people use these tools. Because it will help us understand how best we should be using them. Should we be active, or passive? If the answer is the first, we should steer clear of the passive status updater networks.