David Soler

Network value

Friday, November 27th, 2009

The other day I read an interesting reflection of Marc Cortes on his blog about the level of activity and commitment of your contacts in the network. And that also leads me to reflect on the value of a network.
I think the network value to users lies on:

  1. The number of users. And I do not mean to be large.
  2. The level of users. Neither understood as high nor as low … I mean quality for the purpose of the network and your network.
  3. The user activity. There’s no “nuance”. Either there is activity or not.

I am in various social and professional networks and have come to the conclusion that they are a great channel of communication, but still not a place to share, as they should be. But if any of the above parameters fails, then they are not those great channels at all. And what the current reality shows is that the network activity, especially professionals, is rather low. True, the traffic can be high and we must not despise passive users but the interesting thing is when you build communication.

But there is a point that worries me. I get the impression that there is a discrepancy between the value of the network for users and for managers of the network itself. The managers seem more concerned with “capturing” new users than consolidating old ones and generate debate and activity that, after all, lead to more natural activity, greater commitment from users since they were recommended by other users. A WOM that works.

I once heard a network manager saying, roughly, “we put the platform and the users have to do the rest.” And it sounds as if the board of a football club said “we put the stadium, the rest is up to the members.”

If managers do not identify the leaders, the animators, who are the end of the day moving the network and motivate users in some way, the network will die.

It is incumbent upon those who  self define as “ believers” in these environments to give a serious tone and for managers to focus on something more than simply put the platform.

If you like this post, take a look on:
Social networking laboratory
Facebooknomics
I also recommend take a look in the graphic of this post in RocaSalvatella on the cycle in the implementation and management of Social Media. I'll take the end: "Social media is not the goal but a mean to develop the business." I agree.

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