Friday, 10 August 2007
Is facebook really a Malcolm Gladwell experiment?
So Gladwell has this bit in his book the tipping point where he talking about how your circle of friends is probably more like a pyramid thanks to the personality types he calls "connectors". A connectors is that person who brings people together, the girl at the party who says "oh you have to come meet my friend...", I'm sure you know the person I am talking about. From a marketing point of view connectors also serve a integral purpose of evangelising your business to others always introducing people to your products and services. If you want a better explanation, chapter 2 of The Tipping Point can sort you out.
So Facebook has the "how did you meet" function that I find to be a pretty interesting read. For the most people are linked by "they went to school together" or "they met randomly" but every so often when looking down a list of someones friends you find the recuring message "they met though [mutual friend]". This mutial friend is a connector, the more times they appear in this field the better connector they are. As much as I hate marketers invading social networking sites trying to turn the thing into an Amway-esque sales loop, I can certainly see the value that can be gained by marketers speaking directly to these people.
So someday someone will find a way to view the people on facebook who top the charts in the "they met through [mutual friend]" and marketers will realise they can just focus on these individuals and stop wasting money pitching their brand message to someone that will tell no one.