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The Microcosm of social networks

One of things I love so much about what I do is how fluid it is. Not only personally, but as a whole, the industry and space  I swim in, is very fluid.   But within that fluidity are small pockets of conversations, networks and  silos of brewing relationships that enhance one’s ability to “be fluid”. As of late, I have noticed a lot of really interesting discussions that have bubbled up based on these principles of micro-networks and our ability to flow in and out of them.

David Armano who is all about micro-interactions, adds to his  growing volume of work, which I respect very much, with this  preso titled, “The Micro-Sociology of Networks.”

Slide#36 struck a nerve for me in which David says that Micro-social economics are Niche. For me, I picture the relationships I have in social networks, the relationships I have offline and the one’s I might have in a large stadium, Each has it’s own dynamic and niche quality.

Valeria Maltoni, another person who brings fresh thinking to everything that she touches, did the following post a while back titled Micro Interactions in PR In which she states that:

Public relations is the discipline that gets to the single interactions, the relationships, more closely.

The single interactions and or the relationships.  It’s as simple as this-Is it easier to develop a more intimate relationship with one person or 2 or 3 or 40? Every time you add another person to the conversation, divide the conversation, the relationships and the signal exponentially.

This  exponential division reminded  me of a tweeted conversation I had awhile back with Robert Scoble, in which I asked him, “Now that you have 70,000 followers, what is the percentage of “actual” conversations you have with your followers/or those he followed?”  His answer? When he was only being followed by 20,000, he spoke to 25-35% of them-meaning more than one tweet. Conversations. As the number has risen, it is now less than 10%. In Scoble’s case, I believe it’s always been more of a macro-interaction, but it works for him. But I think he would be the first to admit, that any value that he derives from Twitter, would still be on a personal micro-interactive level.

Recently, I was reading a post by Bernie Borges titled… The Lifecycle of Interaction in Social Media in which he discusses the collective wisdom and influence of communities, and I started to think about the “microcosm of a community” no matter how large or small.

On the one hand one might not think of a community as a microcosm, yet niche communities are in essence, reflections of larger less fluid communities, aren’t they? There is the chance that you are in this or that niche community, because of the rigidity of the larger network. You are, in a sense, a microcosm of a larger group. And because of the possible lack of micro-interactions, you chose to find one that met your needs.

Quick definition here from dictionary.com

mi⋅cro⋅cosm

human beings, humanity, society, or the like, viewed as an epitome or miniature of the world or universe

The fluidness of  online networks now allows us to be a part of many networks and create many realtionships. Sounds very reflective of the offline world doesn’t it? So it begs the question: Aren’t all online social networks, microcosm’s?  Subsets of society played out online?

In conclusion, as I’ve said, I’ve been thinking a lot about this lately, and the thoughts might be disjointed but as my friend Mack Collier mentions, I’m  removing the perfect filter from this post and throwing it up.

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The Deets

Marc Meyer is a Digital and Social Media Strategist at DRMG. This is my personal blog where I share observations, thoughts and opinions that are all my own.

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