A social network is characterized by a high degree of reciprocity. Take Facebook for example; there will not be anyone on your network that you have not accepted into it. If someone known to you sends you an invite you would most probably accept it. Also not many people who are unknown would actually send you an invite. Also most people in your network on Facebook are actually people you already know.
But Twitter is characterized by a high degree of non-reciprocity. Let me explain with an example. Kim Kardashian the reality show star has 10 million followers on Twitter but she follows only 140 odd people. Similarly Lady Gaga the most followed person on Twitter follows about 140,000 thousand and she has about 14 million followers. An analysis on others on Twitter shows a similar trend. As a matter of fact according to a research, I heard on a Freakonomics podcast 60% of the tweets on twitter come from roughly 20,000 followers, though Twitter has more than 200 million odd accounts.
By Matt Anton
Imagine the excitement when the internet was first created. Al Gore..err Tim Berners-Lee would be rolling over in his grave (he’s actually still alive) if he knew the additional game he opened up – online marketing. Ralph Waldo Emerson eloquently stated “Hitch your wagon to a star”, and that’s what we are doing. Google is the singular dominate gatekeeper to the internet, and therefore they are in large part the internet – do you hitch your wagon to Yahoo? Didn’t think so.
It wasn’t long before the first ever blog post went up that someone posted, “hey great post, check out my website”; better known as the dawn of internet spam. The Google Gods saw this spam and loved it. The more people that were backlinking (voting/talking) about you the better. SEO opportunists saw this and began to obtain backlinks from every blog and forum. The Gods had more links to find and all was well in the world, until a critical mass was reached.
Despite all of the talk about audience engagement, most advertisers, marketers, algorithms, and bots, miss one overarching factor, the human psychology. The mind of a person, colored by moods, remembrances of events past, and fear of potentialities yet to be lived, can’t be predicted or relied upon.
One person’s floor is another person’s ceiling. One end-user’s idea of a compelling ad is another end users idea of garbage. We are seldom a consensus.
I believe search will always be king because it makes us feel empowered. We are taking actions that we have decided to take to find something. And that is a different psychology from the person who goes to Facebook to read their feed, and to update their status.
We have been warning our friends, fans, and followers for a long time about the information they post on Facebook and Twitter. Facebook was created a way for Harvard students to communicate, socialize, and track each other (my 94 year old Uncle has a Facebook page. Yikes!). Twitter was created as a way to send text messages to groups of people. People still use these networks as intended but now the reach is in the billions (factoring in that search engines spider and list your Facebook page and Tweets). And along the way very smart people have figured out, and are working on figuring out, new ways to make money from all of the great, personalized content that you freely give them. The money isn’t in the ads Facebook runs by you, it’s in the content you give them, which they can, and will sell, to among others, the medical and insurance industries.
Real Age is a great example of what Facebook could do. Real Age takes the user through a form of health and lifestyle questions and at the end gives that person their “real age” as opposed to their “biological age”. The user feels they’ve benefited from their participation. And Real Age has a form of medical information that they sell to the medical community at about $50 a pop. However, participation in the Real Age process is anonymous. The information you offer up is not.
Below is a link to an article written by Helen A.S. Popkin that we thought would be of interest to you, Your Facebook profile: An open invite to crime?