How many people, when looking for some help, or staff have called up a friend to see if they know someone?
With network media now tracking all our electronic activity this means our contacts everywhere always stay connected in the Social Media Networks.
For many businesses too with a low advertising budget, the Social Media Networking is their sole means of Marketing.”And Studies reveals that, while 14% People Trust Ads, 76% of People trust consumer recommendations for purchase decisions.
For as long as I have had a computer social media in one way or other via Yahoo, MSN, Skye, AOL, was always there. And now we have more with Twitter Facebook Linked-in and so on. These also have online presence or alerts that lets us see real-time if someone is there or is active. They can see me too so once connected it means now we are never alone.
I have read that the key difference between social networks and traditional online communities (windows messenger, chat rooms). is the friend-of-a-friend model. This sets social networks apart. Linked-In is probably one of the obvious professional networks that works like this, but there are many more.
Here is a pictorial example I found on a web site that segments how various social networking channels can be applied. I am not so sure I agree with their catchy tag that says “stop finding your prospects let your prospects find you” It is a good post with some good research if you click thru on the picture.
According to informationweek some time back it works this way. As participants keep up direct connections to friends, they also get access to connections their friends have with other people.
This enables them to interact in ways that they could not do otherwise. The closer the connection is the more trusted that they are.
Rules of engagement are managed so privacy settings are set as more stringent for a FOAF than privacy compared to the directly connected friend.
That is the theory anyway.
As I learn more about how this is evolving I reflected a little on what my father used to do. He was in the building industry in Australia when I was growing up. Then we were a developing nation. so in the time when you needed to spend wisely he rarely needed to advertise for trades people for his projects.
Then it was mostly done by knowing someone who knew someone. And it worked because maintaining trusted relationships was the only means of survival and the trust model was therefore implicit. Word got around quickly too if you did the wrong thing. Then, not only favours would not be returned but all the friends of friends would know too.
The concept of a FOAF was how it worked then. So what has changed? Curiously like my father, my son now 35, (pictured), is in the construction industry too. I am proud to say that he has a great job that he loves, managing construction projects for “Walton Construction” a significant national firm headquartered in Melbourne Australia.
In the down turn he tells me he survived well because the trust model and maintaining relationships works just the same. So is it “Nothing new here” except to reinforce that relationships are what counts not the technology.
My Dad also said,
“You have to work at relationships in business and in life.
He was right. But it is just as much work if not more, on the net to keep in touch. But having the power to find and maintain contacts easily to count on is now a totally new ball game. I know Social Media is not a fad, but more a fundamental shift in the way we communicate.