Early on, I was one of the first analysts to explore the dynamics of the interest graph versus the social graph in social networks. Think Twitter vs. Facebook. I learned right away that interest graphs tend to share connections based on topics rather than relationships. I also found that every person possesses a series of 6-10 interest graphs that together form a social graph. Google refers to these groupings as “Circles.” The notion of manually organizing people by interests though proved daunting and unnecessary. It happens naturally and rather than leave it to humans for organization it requires a human algorithm to help people behind the scenes better manage their contacts and information by analyzing and gauging interests in real time. It’s one of the reasons I always believed that Google’s social strategies suffered from the lack of expertise in and diminished sense of importance for the subject of humanities.
“For the first time ever in a single day we had 500 million people use Facebook” – Mark Zuckerberg
For those who focus on the debate between Facebook, Google Plus and Twitter are missing the true story. Today at Facebook’s f8 developer conference we were reminded about what the story really is…you and me. No, it’s not about features, capabilities, or the number of users. We were reminded about the power of something much more important, our experiences, relationships, the content we create and share and how each paint a picture of who we are as individuals.
The Egyptian Revolution is a historical event for many reasons, not the least of which is the relentless dedication of human will to overcome tyranny against all odds. For those who study social networks, the revolution is also of course significant because of the role Facebook and Twitter played in the concentration of discontent and the orchestration of upheaval. For the purpose of this discussion, I would like to focus on how Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and other social networks continue to demonstrate the revolutionary effects of network density and continue to escalate the promise of social connectivity as part of our digital sustenance.
There’s an old saying, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” Twitter is a paradox that redefines that old saying to, “If it’s broke, don’t fix it, because it works.”
For all intents and purposes, Twitter shouldn’t work, yet 200 million people (and bots) have created accounts in this thriving information egosystem. Now, news no longer breaks, it Tweets. Celebrities use it daily to connect directly with fans and also augment their income streams. Politicians and governments use Twitter to communicate with constituents and one another. Everyday people rely on Twitter to find information and share experiences. And for those more “influential” Twitter users, connectedness pays off in the form rewards, recognition, and compensation.
Several years ago I had the privilege of working with Steve Rosenbaum, author of Curation Nation. Back then Steve was already vested in the future of online curation and his grande conquête was playing out with Magnify.net, a realtime video curation network. At the time, he was also a staple at some of the tech industry’s most renown conferences sharing his vision for social, video, and curated content. As Steve was completing his new book, he asked if I would write the foreword. At the time I was finalizing the new version of Engage! and as a result, I couldn’t make his deadline. But nonetheless, I was inspired to write an honorary foreword that I’ve held onto to celebrate the official release of Steve’s new book.
Social media is maturing as are the people embracing its most engaging tools and networks. Perhaps most notably, is the maturation of relationships and how we are expanding our horizons when it comes to connecting to one another. What started as the social graph, the network of people we knew and connected to in social networks, is now spawning new branches that resemble how we interact in real life.
Among the many hats I wear, I’m a design and business adviser to several technology startups. However, in certain circumstances, I take a more prominent role to help develop the products and services that I need in my work. Over the years, I’ve developed a working relationship with PeopleBrowsr and serve as the company’s Chief Data Analyst. Together, we’ve issued several reports and will continue to do that and more.
Twitter is introducing a new Tab to its redesigned social dashboard. Depending on which test you’re part of, you may already see “People” or “Find People” just to the right of the Messages link at the top. This new feature is the culmination of Twitter’s work to enhance your experience within the rapid-fire micro information exchange. While this isn’t Tweet-stopping news, it is important.
On Monday, I received a short and simple message from the Twitter team, “You are invited to attend a special event at Twitter HQ tomorrow afternoon, RSVP Yes or No.”
I had just finalized my travel from San Francisco to New York and thought for a moment, that it might be worth reconsidering. The message could only mean one thing, Twitter was going to announce something new and given that they don’t usually host live conferences for just any new feature, it would carry a level of importance that would see the likes of tech’s top press and industry leaders in attendance.
In the next installment of discussions exploring the state and future of social media, Chris Beck, founder of 26dottwo (@26dottwo) and I review how relationships online are evolving from social networks to social “nicheworks” or contextual networks.
Brian Solis is a digital analyst, anthropologist, and also a futurist. In his work at Altimeter Group, Solis studies the effects of disruptive technology on business and society. He is an avid keynote speaker and award-winning author who is globally recognized as one of the most prominent thought leaders in digital transformation.
His most recent book, What's the Future of Business: Changing the Way Businesses Create Experiences (WTF), explores the landscape of connected consumerism and how business and customer relationships unfold in four distinct moments of truth. His previous book, The End of Business as Usual, explores the emergence of Generation-C, a new generation of customers and employees and how businesses must adapt to reach them. In 2009, Solis released Engage, which is regarded as the industry reference guide for businesses to market, sell and service in the social web.