Understanding how people influence each other is not simple. It’s certainly not as simple as many people believe – that there are a small number of very influential people in society, and if you reach and influence them they will influence hundreds, thousands and even millions of others. This is the basis for ‘The Law of the Few’ as described in The Tipping Point and many business people subscribe to this theory. Some studies concluded that there are in fact people in society who have great influence over others but most research studies concluded that other factors play a much bigger part in how people are influenced.
Understand sociology, not technology
“Social networking is a means to an end. You need to understand what the end is. Understanding sociability is complex”
Social Media Marketing
We’re also seeing a much bigger shift in how people spend their time online. People are spending much more time interacting with other people, and much less time consuming content from websites. This shift is not about any one particular social network. It’s about people connecting to each other online. So this shift is much greater than any one social network & much more complexed than deciding where the ‘share this’ buttons go. Almost all the sites and apps we design from now on will have embedded social features.
When thinking about how the web is changing, many people focus on the technology. How many people have heard of Foursquare? Start a company blog, get on Twitter, set up a Facebook fan page, forget it all that was 2009, now you need to be on at least all major social media platforms but why ignoring a technology? infact there are two problems with focusing on technology.
- The first is that people often don’t know what they are going to do with the things they build. There are so many Facebook fan pages with hundreds of thousands of followers yet nothing is happening. So what? You need to look at things like Facebook fan pages and think: “How is this going to fundamentally improve my relationship with my customers?”
- On the other hand it is simple to understand that we’re dealing with are social science problems, not technology problems. The technology may be changing fast but the basic human motivations are changing very slowly and in many places not at all. We need to first understand what is motivating people to use these services. Not jump on the latest social networking bandwagon.
Understanding sociability will become a core requirement for designing online. Almost all of us will need to become skilled in social web design.