Book Excerpt: What Are You Waiting For? (So Act Already)

As the release date for my new book in which I examine “The Unsociable Business of Social Networks” through the vantage point of the So Act Network quickly approaches, I thought that I would provide you with a brief excerpt from Chapter 5 titled “The Company You Keep . . .”

Once again, the book “What Are You Waiting For? (So Act Already),” will be released this February.

Chapter 5 – The Company You Keep . . .

” A man is known by the company he keeps.

Aesop’s Moral

A famous Aesop’s fable “The Donkey and His Purchaser” relates the belief that one is known by the company they keep.

According to the fable, “A man wished to purchase a Donkey, and decided to give the animal a test before buying him. He took the Donkey home and put him in the field with his other Donkeys.

The new Donkey strayed from the others to join the one that was the laziest and the biggest eater of them all.

Seeing this, the man led him back to his owner. When the owner asked how he could have tested the Donkey in such a short time, the man answered, I didn’t even need to see how he worked. I knew he would be just like the one he chose to be his friend.”

The above fable is quite interesting in that it speaks to several factors that determine the sustainable interaction and subsequent growth in relevancy of any social network. Specifically, is there enough pertinent and productive activity to warrant the investment of a person’s time in the network?

This is not a trivial question in that like the individual who was interested in purchasing the donkey, we too “test” the social networks to which we belong to determine if we are going to be an active member or a absent profile.

Like the fable, we are also inclined to make said decisions with regard to personal relevancy very quickly. For example, and referencing Nielson.com stats for February 2009, Twitter was ranked as the fastest growing site in member communities with a growth rate of 1382% followed by Zimbio at 240% and Facebook at 228%. Yet despite this meteoric growth, according to an April 28th, 2009 article by Mashable`s Pete Cashmore, 60% of Twitter users “quit within the first month!”

Compared with both Facebook and MySpace continued Cashmore, whose retention rate in their early start-up days was twice that of Twitter’s, one cannot help but wonder about the long-term impact of a social media world in which increasing fragmentation through the emergence of new network platforms promises to further splinter the market.

A trend influencer that is likely to become even more disconcerting to Twitter based on the September 25th article in Mashable by Ben Parr that asks the question “Has Twitter’s Growth Peaked?”

The basis for the Parr question is tied to recent statistics which indicate that “Twitter has hit a growth ceiling.” This position is reflected in the fact that data shows a definite decline in areas such as market share of US visits to Twitter, as well as US-based search volume.

There are of course other factors that need to be considered beyond the issue of retention, including the impact of what I refer to as the hive and cross-pollination effect.

The hive/cross pollination concept or theory is based on the observation that individuals will likely choose at most one or two primary networks as their preferred platforms. That is, they will spend the majority of their social networking time interacting within these main “hives.”

While they may venture out into the vast social media world visiting countless other networks, similar to the honey bee these forays are ultimately geared towards gathering information and insights to bring back to the hive to share with their established community of contacts. This of course is the cross-pollination aspect of the hive effect.

Over the next few weeks I will be posting the details regarding the book’s availability in terms of where you can obtain your copy.

In the meantime, and to learn more about the So Act Network click the So Act icon above, as well as tune in to my November 18th, 2009 interview with So Act founder and visionary Greg Halpern through the On- Demand Player below.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

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  • Books Written by Jon Hansen

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