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Thursday, June 05, 2008

Chris Brogan: The Value of Your Social Network

The proliferation of social media technologies -- those networks that allow you to post your thoughts instantly to scores of "friends" and contacts -- has raised an interesting debate throughout the last few months: what's the value of your network?

Every day, new social technologies pop up to compete with LinkedIn (a business contact network), Facebook and Myspace (social networks) and Twitter (a mobile text messaging network). It's easy to run from one to the other, joining every new system and importing your contacts from here to there.

But ask "why" before they run.

Chris Brogan, a social media consultant, added a twist on that: will companies pay you for your contacts? (The short answer is: smart companies will.)

The reality is a well-maintained social network is intangibly important because you have access to people you wouldn't normally have access to. That makes problem solving much easier. It's human-search.

You post a question. Somebody is bound to know. It's Ask the Audience in Who Wants to be a Millionaire?

That's the conclusion eponymous blogger Robert Scoble gave when asked why he followed thousands of people on the messaging service.

Yet even Scoble eventually had to re-think his position after he became overwhelmed with -- as he said -- one message per second. No matter how much you want to keep up, there's no way that adds value to your information stream.

The real value comes not from the sheer volume of contacts as Scoble says, but instead from the informational relationships you form. This idea is explained in some ways by Microsoft Sharepoint specialist Sharon Richardson, who said a good social network creates a feedback loop, one that is constantly in motion and responding to real-time requests.

By Brad at 09:47 AM | Comments (0)

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