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What drives participation in a social network?

If you’re a social media consultant like Jay Baer, or a larger organization like Accenture for instance, one of the constant constants in social media is the amount of education required to get people all on the same page, before anything can really be accomplished.

With that being said, once people are “there”, and they “get it”, they can see pretty quickly what the trans-formative nature and power of  social media is like, and what it can do.

But it took a post from the The Next Great Generation to open my eyes to what we are really talking about here and what really drives participation in social networks. It’s amazing that I can be so immersed in it and not really see what is going on. Check out these quotes from the post:

There was no validation that what I did was comment-worthy, no “cute” notations on Yelps, no retweets of my witty Twitter updates

and

Social media validates my feelings and actions. Seeing them online makes them real and takes them out of me, much in the way that I imagine it would be to keep a diary.”

What is the common theme there? Validation. Simply put, what we do in our communities needs to be validated. No one likes to create content in a vacuum. Conversations become just that, conversations, when someone responds to you. We need that reaction. the dialogue, not the monologue. Be it positive, negative or indifferent-the social creature in us needs the juice.

As well, by simply creating and putting it “out there” validates our existence in these social networks. We become “part” of the dynamic of the group, of the community. You are a creator and you’re validating yourself for the group.

Crowds applause-that validates. Social Media flash mobs go nuts over corporate missteps-they validate each other in unison and then are further validated by Twitter, blogs and reaction from the company itself. All forms of validation.

You write a blog post or tweet something or create a video, or write a review-you do it because you want to become part of something and it all rings hollow until someone notices and says something. Blogs were and still are great because not only did it provide a forum and platform for self expression but it also provided instant feedback.  It validated both readers and writers.

Social media engagement is all about validating each other and our experiences and the content that we have created and…shared

Consider:

  • A high number of views=validates
  • A high number of blog comments= validates the topic
  • Trying to creating a video=searching for validation
  • Snarky comment on Twitter=need for validation

The list can go on and on but I have to thank the folks over at TNGG for validating what I had completely missed in this space. You see, it’s the little things that can sometimes go completely unnoticed, and once you notice them, they aren’t so little after all.

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1 Response to “What drives participation in a social network?”



  1. 1 Saturday Link Roundup (05-01-10) | Social Media Marketing Trackback on May 1, 2010 at 1:03 pm
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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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