There has been a lot of dialog around ROI from social media however the real measure is ROI on “connections”. Afterall social media is just a combination of technology and content used to “get” peoples attention and ultimately turn the attention into a relationship. So the real question is more centric to defining the ROI on “connections” and how does an individual or business create relationships with “connections” gained through the use of social media.
First the word “connection” seems a little impersonal and probably so given that the power of social technology enables us to have thousands of “connections” with a small percentage actual forming into a traditional relationship. One might argue that a connection is a relationship, although distant, and yet available to be engaged with the right conversation or content. The more I study the behavior of people intersecting with technology as a means of “connecting” the more I realize that we’re witnessing an entirely new “relationship dynamic” not yet defined or modeled enough to use as a benchmark or model of relational behavior which effects everything, anything and everyone..
What Relationship Dynamic Is Changing?
Historically relationships were born out of acquaintances with people we met at work, church or social events we participated in. The physical world created natural constraints to “how many” people we might meet from our physical social or professional activity. Then the internet (Web 1.0) enabled us to see other peoples communications through email, chat rooms and online publications published by the media. In comes Web 2.0 and now we’re enabled to witness the interaction of thousands if not millions of people communicating with “crowds” through blog post and commentary, Twitter, Friendfeed, MyBlogLog and the host of others “convergence conversational forums and applications”. Twitter demonstrates the exponential growth of virtual conversations with a growth rate of over 750% in 2008.
Many of the “virtual conversations” take place without any benefit of the traditional relationship dynamic, a physical interaction. Subsequently a new “relationship dynamic” is emerging which is grounded in conversations about anything and everything. Individuals migrate to said conversations based on affinity to subject matters, geographic places, professional interest and business segmentation. Additonally individual popularity grows from both the rate of participation, # of others participating or following and the “distributed presence” of both the individual and their conversations.
The related conversations are the glue that create the new relational dynamics. People grow in their affinity to the people and their conversations just as if said conversations were happening in person. Disagreements, agreements and disruptive arguements occur virtually and those very dynamics form the glue which define the virtual relational dynamics mirroring the same interactive exchanges that happen in our physical world. Just consider how many people you know virtually whom you feel “connected to” and when prompted you respond as if they were your long lost friend of years ago. This dynamic is the result of common and related conversations which tap into the very fiber of our human makeup, our self definition of who we are shaped by what we think we know or what others know about something, anything or everything we have an affinity with or to personally and professionally.
An Explosive Dynamic Which Will Reshape Mankind?
We no longer are we constrained by physical barriers to forming relationships rather technology has unleshed unlimited relationship potential which has always been the by product of a relationships….the creation of something, the resolution to something and the joy of the process. The power of relationships rest with what can be done with others to improve someones or everyones life simply but conversing and sharing perspectives which expand ones viewpoint of possibilities. Relationships are the fiber which drives, forms and progresses everything personally and professionally. Doing things by our self has limitations. Doing and creating things with others has no limitations especially when “others” now means hundreds, thosuands and millions of “connections” which possess the opportunity for a relationship.
The ROI on “connections” depends on what we do, create or solve with our connections which in turn creates a relationship. Get it?
What say you?