Why are people connecting to people?

by Jay Deragon on 12/12/2007

Why are people connecting to people?Have you ever considered why so many people look for other people to connect with?

Think about it for a minute. Over 500 million people are profiled in social networks of one form or another and growing at over 30% a year. There are over 700 different social networks available for anyone to join, besides the closed networks that one has to be invited into to join, serving numerous interest and affinities. Besides social networks we have people search engines, online phone directories, reverse look up and the list of technology that enables us to find people is endless.

Michael Arrington wrote an article titled War Of The People Search and states: “I moderated a fascinating panel tonight at Google headquarters that included execs from three “people search engines” – the CEO of Wink (Michael Tanne), the CEO of Spock (Jaideep Singh), and the COO of Zoominfo (Bryan Burdick).”

“The panel was very timely. Earlier today the Wall Street Journal published an article called “You’re Nobody Unless Your Name Googles Well” that outlined the exact problem these search engines are trying to solve – finding information about people on the web, many of whom have identical names. The article didn’t mention the efforts of these startups, instead focusing entirely on Google, but it did note a few interesting statistics. There are, for example, 158 million results on Google for the name “John Smith” (I actually see 225 million, but who’s counting).”

“Big statistics are thrown around when people talk about people search. Singh says around 30% of searches are people-related. Tanne says 2 billion searches per month are on people (Facebook data tends to suggest this is probably vastly underestimated)”

So we ask the question again, why so many people search for other people to connect with?

There are three main reasons why people spend time finding other people. These are:

  1. Business purposes
  2. Social purposes
  3. Private purposes

Each purpose has an objective and it takes people and processes to accomplish objectives, regardless of purpose. We live in a global community and as the Wall Street article suggest “You’re Nobody Unless Your Name Googles Well“. The social web, and related technologies, is creating a seamlessly connected world of people and things aimed at different purposes and possibilities yet to be discovered.

The convergence of technology, coupled with the acceleration of new technological advances within the social web, is creating a historical shift in human behavior with little, if any, reference to common bodies of knowledge to explain probable outcomes or definable dynamics. Everyone is self learning as they engage with the mediums and share perspectives with others. The media attempts to explain the dynamics and outcomes but few, if any, have a clear understanding capable of stating conclusive outcomes.

Back to the question, Why…..?

The answer to the question why is diverse based on ones perspective, objective and experience. However, the bases of the answers will show a common thread of belief that people connect with people to exchange value in numerous forms. Technology has enabled the value exchanges to accelerate without boundaries in time and space.

Effective and efficient exchanges will be designed around common characteristics in people, technology and objectives. Once aligned there is no telling what kind of outcomes can be produced only to say they will be beyond any historical reference of past collaborative efforts. One thing is certain, markets are be formed and transformed by all these connections.

So again why? Because we can and because the human network thrives on conversations. Doc Searls book “The Cluetrain Manifesto ” states that markets are conversations. Could it be that collectively we are creating a new market called The Relationship Economy and it is driven by us as individuals?

What say you?


Tom Fraley December 12, 2007 at 1:24 pm

The question still remains. What does one do with the massive social network we as individuals create? The larger the network, the greater the potential. Would you say that that could equate to potential influence? Celebreties and sports stars have influence and get paid for it. Could our influence in our social network earn us money too?

Tom Fraley December 12, 2007 at 1:19 pm

Isn’t this relationship economy such a relief from ‘Big Business’?! I’m happy that the rest of the world is finally catching on and the technologies are being created to support it.

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