Affinity in terms of sociology, refers to “kinship of spirit”, interest and other interpersonal commonalities. Affinity is characterized by high levels of sharing, usually in close groups, also known as affinity groups. Social affinity is generally thought of as “marriage” to ideas, ideals and causes shared by a community of people.
The concept of social affinity is used to analyze individuals responding to the social issues of most concern to themselves. The social location variables of social, spatial, and temporal distance and proximity are some of the variables relative to “social affinity”. These variables are indicative of the self-interest which permeates our culture. The impact self-interest has on the development of social affinity in the context of social issues and our culture of individualism is permeating the social web as millions form “an affinity to others and things“.
Albert Einstein once said ” A human being is part of the whole called by us the Universe: a part limited by time and space.” Social technology has now reduced the limitations of time and space enabling people to become part of a larger whole at the click of a mouse and always on 24/7.
People follow people on Twitter and connect with people throughout social networks based on an “affinity” of interest. Larger groups, or nodes, attract others with a common affinity given the profile and reach of the group in terms of size and audience. The larger a “common group” the greater the reach, both by one individual and the group as a “whole”.
What Is Brand Affinity?
Brands representing everything we consume from information to clothing and cars seek to create an affinity to the market of interested consumers. The market was people targeted by information to specific demograhics that created attention, attraction and affinity. Subsequently the brand methods of the past, pushing tricky information, was used to create “affinity audiences” drawn by attention getting tactics aimed at creating an attraction. From these tactics brands converted attention, attraction and affinity into an audience of converted buyers driven and motivated by the marketing and communication efforts of the brands.
Prior to the “social web” word of mouth commentary by consumers reflecting brand experiences were limited by “time and space“. In the old days consumer influence was contained by the distance and space between consumers. Now there is no distance in space or limitations of time given the reach one individual has as a result of social technologies. Just four years ago my personal reach was limited to a few hundred people. As a result of my “conversational activity” on the web and presence throughout social platforms I can now reach 1st degree connections in excess of 100,000 people and second degree connections exceeding 20 million!
The social web has empowered individuals and organizations to create a new affinity, an affinity to human rather institutional commonality. While people have interest in institutions and things, they have far more interest in other people whom they form an affinity of trust and value exchanged via the social web. The value exchange is different than what brands have traditionally proposed. The value is driven by an affinity of experience, interest and commonality. Trust is assumed and established based on personal experiences, an exchange of information and observations of previous exchanges as well as the historical “social” behavior represented in the transparent virtual world of relationships.
The new dynamics drive attention, attraction and affinity based on human commonalities not by marketing or PR tactics from institutions. Once we individually, and collectively, learn how to create said attention, attraction and affinity then we develop a new audience ready to exchange value. Some of the value exchanges with an audience create immediate revenue opportunities while much of the exchange is about seeding the relationship for future value exchanges.
Building affinity relationships takes time however the social web is collapsing time and space. If you want a relationship then work at building a “human rather than an institutional affinity”. Get it?
What say you?