Chris Brogan has More Brilliant Thoughts on Social Networks

Where does this come from? The guy travels and speaks all over the place, how does he have time to put together this kind of thinking?

Who benefits most from you having a high “friend” count on Facebook? Hint: not you. The social graph is what people are selling. It’s a model built to understand your level of “influence” and to understand whether what you like will spread to others, and thus, can there be any ability to predict a sale.

There’s absolutely no benefit to you for having thousands and thousands of friends.

Because especially now, with the weird algorithm known as Edgerank (which sounds like a weird sci fi movie detail), if your stuff is shared a lot, it’s seen a lot. If it’s not, your stuff is invisible and it doesn’t matter much that thousands of people are your “friend.”

Ditto most of the other social networks. The moment you start following more than a few hundred people on Twitter, the platform does a lot of things to make sure your tweets aren’t seen by many people. I know this from experience. Because I’m followed by over 214,000 people on Twitter, and because I’m a bit of a blabbermouth (I tweet more than 3 times a day), they have me (and a bunch of other people) in a special distribution category that pushes my data to you at various times of day and not all at once.

Meaning, the more you acquire “friends,” the more penalties and risks of not being seen in any meaningful way will occur. Further, the less effective your “digital marketing” is.

Alas, it is NOT a numbers game with your personal account, though many thought it might be (including myself, though not in the way that most would think).

But what suffers in all of this? The word “friend” without the quotes.


I propose, first and foremost, that we realize that there is a category of person who fits something like this:

* Have met this person at least once in person and found him or her to be enjoyable.

* Admire this person professionally and even personally.

* Want this person to succeed in life and in business.

* Would gladly have a meal/beer/flirtatious repartee or similar with, should the opportunity arise.

* Am not likely to help move their sofa any time soon.

* Probably won’t remember their kids’ names, unless by accident.

* Will gladly wish them happy birthday because Facebook told me to, but it’s not like we really remembered it.

These people are “allies.” They are not “friends.” They are people you wish well in this universe, but they are not the people you call to cry with when your significant other leaves you to run off with a koala bear. They are people you may see again in a professional setting and you would gladly hug, but not people you would invite to a sleepover at your camp.

With that as a definition, I am ALLIES with tens of thousands of wonderful people that I wish well. I am FRIENDS with far fewer people.

I have been struggling with this idea of trying to follow and engage too many people for weeks, ever since I decided to re-evaluate my use of Twitter, Facebook, and Google Plus.

Thus, with this definition of Allies in mind, I created a list of Twitter people in my Tweetdeck application. Of the 300+ folks that I follow on Twitter (I recently did a massive purge, removing people that don’t follow me back or ever engage in conversation), less than one third made the cut.

As for Facebook, well, not sure what to do there. I will keep doing the Business Page Marketing, but that seems to be about as futile as Brogan says above…I am having much better results live and in-person.

Finally, Google Plus. For now that is strictly going to be for interacting with my Premium Subscribers. Until I get another idea…

I’d love to hear your thoughts, please leave a comment.

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