The Social Graph is bloated; long live the Interest Graph!
Recent studies point out to a reality that all of us that participate in Social Media see every day; our online social relationships have grown beyond control; we have way many more “friends”, “followers” and “subscribers” than what we can keep up with.
The impact this is having is showing in studies already; recent results published by Edelman show that the trust in a “Person like yourself” is declining (from 47% in 2009 to 43% in 2011) which I personally interpret as the backlash created by the bloating of the Social Graph.
What is a Marketer to do? We just got this wonderful new device and it is already losing its shine? Not really; what we need to do is to go back to the basics and understand that not everyone is an influencer for everything. We should not target the Social Graph across (is a waste, and makes people tune out or message), what we need to target instead is the Interest Graph.
What is the Interest Graph?
Think about your Social Graph as a neuron network that selectively lights up depending on the topic / area; are you discussing music? Who among your Social Graph reacts, participates, chimes in? who clicks on the links you share and follows your lead? That is your interest graph for Music, and defines the opportunity anyone that markets music related products has when targeting you with their efforts and promotions.
I am excited about the opportunities the identification & targeting of Interest Graphs opens for marketers; we are working hard at http://MeteorSolutions.Com to make these opportunities a reality for you. I will be writing more on the topic soon.
What do you think?
I think you've made an excellent point here! As soon as I started learning about social networking, it struck me that a good approach to understanding the impact of these huge networks was an established data mining tool sometimes called neural networking. Using influence and reach I've started to define the "new gold customer" being based on the "performance principle" meaning how much influence and reach someone has compared to the current "peter principle" based on tenure as a customer. In other words, a 15-yr old kid with influence and a wide following is just as valuable as a long-time adult customer. I call the process social mapping. Thanks for the insight!
Your interest graph is very close to the notion of tribes that we map i.e kind of overlaying someone Social Graph with the overall Tribes (Interest Graph) like this one: http://blog.ecairn.com/2011/04/26/b-is-for-business-blogs-and-brides/
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