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« Don't Become a "Walking Dead" Brand: Listen, Acknowledge, Demonstrate | Main | An Abundance of "Free" Thinking »

February 21, 2008


Dennis McDonald

I don't think it's that complex. "Social networks" are about relationships and conversations. "Online social networks" involve technology and the Internet in enabling those conversations and relationships.

The important question is what role the company or the association wants to have in enabling the conversations and relationships of its members/employees/customers. Since relationships, technology, and people are changing all the time, this will always be a moving target.

Yvonne DiVita

Ah, but Purina takes it a step further... I write a little petblog for them, with help from a veterinarian. Check out ... it shows Purina's commitment to pet.

John Cass

Your point about walled gardens is well taken. Though I personally think it is a matter of good social interaction design. You have to understand the limits and constraints on social interaction within a social networking website. One element as you suggest, is forgetting to return, which is something I think few bloggers do on their own sites. Bloggers run their own sites, update them, which is why I hope that social networking will become more open source rather than walled into private gardens. What if every blog reached the potential of a social networking website?


Wow... that's really well thought out!

I would wonder, though, if Social Networks are about commonality, how does one explain the vivacity of Twitter?

I honestly have to say that it seems to prove the exception to the rule in that regard - and yet, it's one of the strongest tools in Social Networking right now.
Twitter seems to defy the 'concept of object-centered sociality' and bring many disparate people together. While, strangely, it's competitors (Jaiku, Pownce, etc) don't seem to be able to draw the same level of interaction.

Something to ponder, I suppose...

Elizabeth Albrycht

GeekMommy you have an excellent point, one which I have been musing on these last couple of days. Is there an object behind Twitter? One of the big reasons I love twitter is the sharing of links to interesting information - almost like a dynamic on-the-fly social bookmarking service. Of course, it is much more too.

If you think about ambient presence - your "location", your "thereness", your "identity", however you want to define it (something I am not sure on yet) and objectness, lots of interesting issues arise.

It looks like I have found another topic to dig into more deeply and think about - I welcome your thoughts and ideas!

Lisa Poplawski

A company's purpose for beginning to dabble in social networking should align closely with the purpose with which they began their own blog. A successful corporate blog---like you've indicated for success in social networking---relies on the company's realization that readers and the audience share a connection through one object. A great example of this is Stonyfield Farms' blog---a corporate blog that doesn't resemble one ounce of the corporate image or motivation. Like you've said, people enjoy advise and discussion about the object that's drawn them together in the first place. Shared by my professor Kelli Matthews in class, the Stonyfield Farm blog (at offers parenting tips for one audience and a company farmer's diary for another audience. This blog has been hugely successful because the company focused on offering advice and dialogue to their consumers---not about the product but about things buyers of the product are interested in! This same concept will need to be applied to social networks. Success will come not by promoting the brand, but by giving buyers of your brand something to talk about, something they will enjoy.

Great post and especially great links to lots of information!! Thanks, Elizabeth!

Lisa Poplawski

Julie, writer

It is fairly easy to exist. And it is also fairly easy for other people to exist to us. The meaning part is an entirely different manner. I like how you used social networks to prove this point. I no longer have an account but I must admit that despite the seemingly shallow way some of these networks operate, I enjoyed myself with it.

Mariana Sarceda

Social networks, at least this is the way I see them and use them, are virtual spaces where I can get in touch with friends who live abroad, or with colleagues all over the world with whom I can exchange experiences, knowledge and insight.
I agree on the point that brand-driven social networks may have a short existence as marketing tools because the customer is not commited for life to a brand. These kind of social networks may work in the launching of a new product or service, but if all the marketing plan of the company ends here....well, I guess the company is in big trouble.

Social Network Web Design

Social networks work because of the people involved in the network and not because of the technology it offers.

Social Networking Web Design

Corporate social networks don't have much in terms of longevity in the public realm. People will constantly move to the latest and greatest, whether that's a social network or something else. Social networks aren't always about the people, plenty of people use social networks because of the technology; as more advanced features pop up elsewhere, people will move with it.

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