How Much Will “Sicko” Gross in its Opening Weekend? Flickr
Sharing within and between groups is undoubtedly the next layer of social networking, and some potential models have been identified here previously. Visual social networking groups could not only exert influence within and between themselves – let’s call it groupfluence – but could form a valuable facility for the sharing and development of ideas. As hyped startup Pownce emerges from stealth mode, the concept of being able to ‘send stuff to your friends’ introduces yet another disruption in an economy of always-on partial attention. Instead of creating more noise, how can groupfluence be aggregated to form a single (useful) visualisation of the trends within and between social groups?
Aggregation, Not Creation
The world doesn’t need another space for citizen produced media, nor does it need another social network. One of the values of groupfluence is the aggregation of existing media into a meaningful form, for instance syndicating the combined set of del.icio.us bookmarks, Flickr photos and tweets between a network of 20 friends. This isn’t about replicating the content in full – if details are required we already know where to find them. It’s about presenting the trends within this data so the group’s activity is understandable at a glance.
‘How much could we sell it for?’ ‘How many users could we achieve within 3 months?’ ‘How many single girls live in New York?’
Group email threads, forum discussions, blog comments, memes, tweets, Facebook walls and IM conversations can be handy for on-the-spot forecasting decisions if you’re involved in the process from end to end. The value of these discussions plummets when the discussed is passed on to someone who may be a part of your group, but who wasn’t involved in the early discussion. Wading through pages of copy is so 1995 and it’s amazing many of us are still doing it. In an age where working 4 hours per week is achievable, let’s not waste time on non-value add tasks – empower everyone in the group to contribute and make instant decisions. Visualise thoughts.
Turn Disruption into Value
The information economy became saturated and created an attention economy, and with so many cries for attention we’re living in a disruption economy. As the number of ‘friends’ on social networks increases and productivity hits all-time lows, the wired community is grappling to stay afloat with even traditional workloads. As we clutch to low-fi productivity methods and attempt to reduce some of the disruptive noise, why not cut the noise out? By aggregating social network content and combining the group’s activity with topical group forecasting, visual models are created to show what the group is doing and where the group’s thoughts are leading.
This isn’t Entirely New, Just Better
‘Discoverability’ is the experience of social networking we all love. Finding new content from those in your network is the real value new media networks bring, and the nice thing about groupfluence is all of the discoverable data is still available, it’s just hidden from view. Most of the time we’re seeking a quick impression so we can think, act and move on, all in the manner that best suits the group.
There’s the concept, and it’s a far-fetched one at that. Implementing such a platform would be incredibly difficult, but keeping the groupfluence strategy in mind when designing social networks might just land you at a better solution.