Finding value in Social Networks
By danny.lui on Oct 26, 2008
This is my first blog, and I had a hard time thinking of what I should write about. I have never blogged before because I am not sure what is there I can bring value to. At the same time, I’m looking at the social networking sites that I participate in, and what value do I get out of it. I do not have time to search for what I need or read a lot of information. So what value does social networks bring?
Obviously, social networking have different values to different people. So how can a social network bring value to the masses so that more people will join and participate.
I look at how I use social networks. I think the key is to not target the masses but to target only those that brings value to them. I look at how I use LinkedIn. It is a great network but what do I do after adding these contacts to my contact list and joining social groups. For me, I didn’t find much use for it as an engineer. After awhile, I have stopped checking it or updating it. But for another friend who’s business is in consulting and trying to grow his business, it became a valuable tool for him to try to network his way into a company. He has gotten some business from networking with different people.
For me, a social network will bring value when it can aggregate all the information to me and forecast what I will like to know based upon my interests. Bringing attention to news or information that I would be interested in learning. Show me all the topics, blogs and etc that most interest me daily and refresh it based upon my participation during the previous week. In other words, push the data to me so I don’t have to mine it in the networks. I would like a social network that will help me find connections, interests, information that is relevant for me instead of me having to mine that data.
The value of social networking is to help find data that interest me the most and constantly keep me up to date on the latest changes that is of value to me. Social networks should be able to adopt to different ways that the users uses the network. It should provide multi-dimensional interaction instead of a contact list. I want to be able to network with people outside of my network, outside the country that I live in and speaking a language that I can’t understand.
What else do I look for in a social network? I look for the one that is easy to use. That provide good search capability so I can easily find information that I need. I am not interested in contact networking, but more of mining data from the network. I look for the ones with cool interface that keeps me intrigued and a mobile application is a plus.
So how does it keep me in and not lose me? Continuous innovation with new capabilities, more topics, integration to other networks. Find it all in one place so I keep coming back to it as a starting point.
At the end of the day, it is the people and content that makes a social network successful. So an innovative network that provides tools to help bring knowledgeable experts to the network and retain them to actively participate in the network.