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Social Networking

Social Networking
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its success and making it
its success and making it
work for you
work for you
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Prepared by Illuminas Prepared by Illuminas
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Harnessing the success of social networking
The remarkable success of social networking has attracted a
great deal of attention
But why has social networking been so uniquely successful?
And what do the reasons for its success tell us about how
marketers and researchers can make best use of it?
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Research programme
20 observational depth interviews with regular users of Social
Networking sites (i.e. more than 2 times a week)
Respondents were aged 15 – 35
50:50 Male to Female ratio
All interviews were conducted in London, UK
Conducted May 2007
Further 10 depth interviews with 35–55 year old regular users (July
2007)
Due to evidence of widening user demographic profile
Plus an extensive audit of current SN sites
Observing interaction on the sites
Using key functions and features
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Agenda
1. 1. Social networking in context Social networking in context
C21
st
boom in social networking sites, Measures of the social networking phenomenon, Social Networking and
the evolution of the internet,, Terminology, World of Web 2.0 – a taxonomy of sites, Social networking is a
‘bottom-up’ medium, Pre-existing networks determine on-line networks, Each brand is a separate application,
Making sense of complexity.
2. 2. The uniqueness and success of social networking The uniqueness and success of social networking
What differentiates social networking from other forms of communication and why has it been so successful?
How social networking mimics group interaction, Modalities, nodalities and members, Nodalities: ‘121 – APB’,
Example: Wall Posts, The influence of the 3
rd
part audience, Modalities: gestures to sentences, Gestures:
Pokes and Nudges, Mapping different social network functions, Emailing through Facebook, Creating a
conventional/ contextual medium for non-verbal communication is a key factor in SN’s success, Social
Networking is unique in its ability to allow fluid movement between different modalities and nodalities, Members,
Fluidity across members, nodalities, and modalities, Social Networking – a night stretched out in time and
space, A night out with friends analysed. Motivations and how Social networking serves them (Belonging;
Exchange; Recognition; Expression; Amusement/ Distraction)
3. 3. The shadow of social networking The shadow of social networking
Dangers and Discontent
4. 4. Who uses Who uses ‘ ‘social networks social networks’ ’? ?
User profile is much wider than some may imagine, Snapshot of Current User Types: Peer2peer: excitement
and expansion; Broadcasters: documentation of personal achievements; Atomised: counteracting fragmenting
social circle; Happy Eventers: sharing their changing lives; Mature narrow-focussed: late and tentative arrivals.
5. 5. Implications for brands and marketing Implications for brands and marketing
Brand 2.0, How brands can make use of the medium, User Generated Versus Brand Generated, Advertising
seen as a necessary evil, To ensure maximum acceptance, ‘go with the flow’., Going with the flow.
6. 6. The future? The future?
Social networking in context
Social networking in context
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C21
st
is witnessing boom of social networking sites
80s 90s
CHAT
ROOMS
1999 ‘02 ‘03 ‘04 ‘05
BLOGS
Web 1.0 Web 2.0
• Passive consumption of the Internet
• Presentation, logic and data are indistinguishable
• User-generated content/interactive
• User in control
• Internet as a platform of sharing & contributing to the content
• Viral marketing
Changing research issues over time…
Expectation, Usability, Stickiness, Empowerment, Use Context, Integration / “naturalistic discourse”
Social Networking has always existed online (chat rooms forums, etc) but explodes with
the growth of Web 2.0 as users take control fully and begin to appropriate the language…
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Measures of the social networking
phenomenon
Almost a quarter of European internet users visit social networking
sites at least once a month
The three major social networking sites all saw huge growth over the
past 12 months
MySpace recorded the biggest audience of 10.76 million unique users during
June, an increase of 149% from June 2006
Bebo's traffic increased 182% in the UK, up to 10.07 million unique users in June
last year
Facebook's UK traffic rose from a low base of 268,000 unique users last June to
6.01 million last month - an increase of 2,143% (Source: Jemima Kiss,
MediaGuardian, July 20, 2007)
32% of 16-24 year old internet users visit social networking sites at
least once a month, making that demographic the leaders of the social
networking trend (Source: EIAA Mediascope Europe Study 2006)
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Social Networking and the
evolution of the internet
With broadband access now the norm, rich content is not only possible
but expected
2/3 of under 20s downloaded films or TV shows in the last month according to
Mintel (Source: In-home Interactive Media - UK - November 2006)
Younger people now as tolerant of “flat” sites as of black & white TV
“If I can make my own site look smart and professional, surely someone using it
for their own business should be able to do better than that?” (Female, 21)
18 - 24 year olds spend an average of 37.0 hours per month online
(Source: Ofcom Communications Market Report 2007)
Social networking is the third biggest driver to going online (after
music and video downloads, and playing games)
(Source: Ofcom Communications Market Report 2007)
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Terminology
Web 2.0
Refers to a perceived second
generation of web-based
communities and hosted services
(e.g. social-networking sites, wikis,
etc.) which facilitate collaboration
and sharing between users
Social Networking
A social network service focuses
on the building and verifying of
online social networks for
communities of people who share
interests and activities, or who are
interested in exploring the interests
and activities of others, and which
necessitates the use of software
‘Social networking’ is not user language
The term ‘social networking’ is alien to almost all users
They recognise the term but don’t brand name or use it
They are described sometimes by a specific use
G ‘social websites’
G ‘keeping in touch’ websites
G ‘photo sharing’’
G “I’ll Myspace you…”
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World of Web 2.0 – a taxonomy of sites
A number of official and unofficial partnerships exist between many sites
E.g. MySpace and Ringo – Create slideshow of your uploaded Ringo photos on MySpace
Ability to ‘search for friends’ by importing your yahoo/ hotmail/ AIM account contacts into
Facebook
Start pages
Places and events*
Video sharing*
Photo sharing sites*
Play*
Widgets and add-ons
Music*
Mainstream social networking sites*
Niche social networking sites*
* Social networking aspect to sites
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Classification of Top 3 Social Networking Sites
Launched February 2004 Founded in August 2003 Founded Feb 2005 (July relaunch )
Founded by Mark Zuckerberg,
Harvard student
Division of internet company
eUniverse – new initiative
Founded by married couple
Michael and Xochi Birch
Short history:Initially membership was
confined students of Harvard College.
Expanded to other Boston region schools
and all Ivy League schools within 2
months. Many individual US universities
were added over the next year.
Eventually, people with a uni (e.g. .ac.uk)
email address internationally were
eligible to join. Since September, 2006, it
has been made available to any email
address
Short history:First MySpace users were
E-Universe employees (company held
contests to see who could sign-up the
most users). The company then used its
resources to push MySpace to the
masses. January 2006, Fox announced
plans to launch a UK version of
MySpace in a bid to "tap into the UK
music scene
Short history: Largest social networking
site in the UK, Ireland, and New Zealand,
and the third largest behind MySpace
and Facebook in the United States.
The Wall; Gifts; Marketplace;
Pokes; Status; Events;
Applications
Bulletins, comments, Profile
customisation, Blurbs (about me/
who I’d like to meet), Music,
Groups, IM, News, Classifieds,
Profile, whiteboard, ‘skins’ (profile
backgrounds); Bebo bands; Bebo
authors; Bebo groups; integration
with networks (e.g. MSN, Skype,)
SITE FE
A
TU
R
ES
“Souped-up free version of
Friends Reunited”
“Its social glue is music”
“Bright, colourful and
cheesy”
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Social networking is a ‘bottom-up’ medium
Site functionalities are constantly being evaluated and used or
discarded
They are seen as virtually disposable
Functionality is appropriated by users and internalised
With the original or ‘intended’ purpose often being subverted/ bypassed in the
process
This is fuelled by open API of many sites which allow users to develop
functionalities and then use them as they wish
In the same way that in the offline world people can invent words
“It doesn’t feel like it [Bebo] really
belongs to anyone except the
people who use it”
(Female, 22 year old)
“I don’t know if its owned by a particular
company or anyone – I assume it is but it
really just feels like it’s my page”
(Male, 19 year old)
“There’s lots of stuff on it. I’m not sure what all
of it’s for but it’s fun messing around with it ”
(Female, 34 year old)
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Pre-existing networks are the basis for on-line social
networks
The “social network” itself is a pre-existent reality that is shaped (and re-
shaped) by an enormous number of personal and social factors
At different times these can be: static or shifting, expanding or contracting
depending on the individual and lifestage / personality
In addition, each “node” is the centre of another network which overlaps
The one thing that remains constant is the ‘me’ in the middle of it
ME!
Colleagues
Friends
Family
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With Social Networking each brand is a separate application
Thus usage is quite path-dependent
Its hard to switch once a real-world network is embedded on a social networking site
The initial choice tends to be made by “dominant communicators” within groups
The resulting mismatch between real-world networks and online social networks
is dealt with to some extent by individuals being members of more than one site
But the demanding/ continuous nature of social networking makes it hard to maintain an truly
active presence on more than one site
ME!
Colleagues
Friends
Family
F
A
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E

B
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O
K
E
M
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/

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Lack of interoperability means that existing real-world social networks have to
cluster around one social networking brand site
M
Y
S
P
A
C
E
I have profiles on three different
sites just because different people
I know have invited me. But my
main site is Facebook – I don’t
really spend time on the other two.
(Male, 18)
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Making sense of complexity
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Analysis of the unique
appeal of Social
Networking as a comms
medium
Classification/
segmentation of user
types (at current point in
time)
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The uniqueness and success of
The uniqueness and success of
social networking
social networking
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Factors in the growth of social networking
High
penetration
of
Broadband
Open
API
Mobile
web
PC-based
workforce
Migration
(internal &
external)
Web 2.0
Juvene-
scence
Trends in technology
Trends in society
CONTEXT
‘STICKINESS’ OF
SOCIAL NETWORKING
Amplification and
extension of our
need and capacity
for group behaviour
CONTAGION
N
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ffe
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p
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What differentiates social networking from other forms of
communication and why has it been so successful?
Social Networking amplifies and extends our need and capacity for
group behaviour
Not just social behaviour, but very specifically, co-located group behaviour
It translates into a remote electronic medium a range of types of
social interaction that until now have been confined to small group
situations
It allows for rapid switching between these types of interaction in
much the same way that is possible in small, physically close groups
Interaction in such groups is a key aspect of human evolutionary
history – we evolved in small, moderately stable, physically proximate
groups
Hence . . . .
These forms of interaction come very naturally to us
The remarkable success of social networking in a world with strong forces
breaking up small, physically proximate groups
These types of interaction are very subtle so their importance often goes
unrecognised
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Peripherals (friends of friends)
How social networking mimics group interaction
Belonging Exchange Support Recognition Expression
G
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MOTIVATIONS
MODALITIES &
NODALITIES
All Points Bulletin
1-2-1 private
1-2-1 with audience
Fluidity
Core group Followers/ passives
MEMBERS
Audience of strangers
Core group
Leaders/ actives
Fluidity
Any one individual
could be a different
type of member in
different groups
Amusement/
distraction
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Social networking is like a night out . . .
. . . stretched in time
. . . and space
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A night out with friends - analysed
G
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All Points Bulletin
1-2-1 private
1-2-1 with audience
Fluidity Fluidity
Peripherals (friends of friends) Peripherals (friends of friends)
Core group Followers/ passives Core group Followers/ passives
Audience of strangers
Core group
Leaders/ actives
Core group
Leaders/ actives
Fluidity Fluidity
Belonging Exchange Support Recognition Expression Amusement/
distraction
Belonging Belonging Exchange Exchange Support Support Recognition Recognition Expression Expression Amusement/
distraction
Amusement/
distraction
You meet up with your friends early on Friday evening. It’s
been a long, stressful week and you want to let off steam and
share your problems. You have lots of things to tell your
friends – stuff about work and other people you all know or
what you’ve been watching on TV. In the protective circle of
the group you can play a different, more relaxed role than
you play at work or even with your family.
The group is made up of different types of personalities.
Some are more active and dominant, others tend to be happy
just to follow along. But everyone plays their role – even
those who you don’t really have as much in common with.
As well as the core group, there are other people on the edge
of the group who go out with you occasionally. You are
occasionally conscious that the whole group is visible to
strangers.
During the course of the evening you and your friends
interact in all sorts of ways. Sometimes you all listen to the
‘funny’ one telling a story or joke or watch the ‘mad’ one
doing her favourite dance on the dance floor. On other
occasions two or more people talk animatedly to each other
while other members of the group listen in to what they are
saying – sometimes joining in, sometimes just enjoying the
show. Later on you might have a heart-to-heart with one of
your friends when none of the others in the group are
present.
Throughout the evening you will sometimes communicate
with your friends in full sentences, but more frequently with
facial expressions, gestures, hugs ,yelps, shouts and,
towards the end of the evening, colossal drunken roars.
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Modalities, nodalities and members
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Nodalities: ‘1-2-1’ – ‘APB’
Social networking sites allow users to move rapidly between the three main
types of interaction found in group situations
All Points Bulletin (APB) – one person addressing/ signalling to the entire group
1-2-1 (or 2 or 3) with audience – a sub-group of the main group interacting in the presence
of the rest of the group
1-2-1 – two people interacting offline from the main group
Social networking sites enable control over this in a range of ways:
Examples of functionality:
Instant messenger; private message; poke/ nudge;
private gifts
1-2-1 – two people interacting
offline from the main group
Wall posts; photo comments; public gifts; ‘give em’
fives/ love’; group interaction
1-2-1 (or 2 or 3) with audience
Status updates; profile editing; adding photos; group
membership
All Points Bulletin (APB)
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Example: Wall posts (3
rd
party presence)
This wall post below is a message sent by a girl after having seen messaging
between two of the people in her network
This ability to ‘witness’ conversations between individuals in your network is
enhanced by the ‘wall-to-wall’ tool
By clicking on this function, you can see every message which has been sent on the site
between these two individuals, e.g. by clicking here I could see every message between
Maria and the person she is writing to
Hi
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The influence of the 3
rd
party audience
When communicating on SN sites users have to anticipate the likely reactions
of a range of audiences who could witness what they are saying
What is said communicates directly with the 2
nd
party and indirectly with the 3
rd
party
audiences
The presence of these audiences in communication is vital to the success of
social networking as a mass market medium
Makes communication less intimate and so makes people more ready to contribute (“safety in
numbers”)
Has allowed the conventions of the medium to be learned much more quickly, accelerating
the success of SN
Passive audience is the key to the recognition/ self-esteem function of the sites
SN sites permit this manipulation and control of representation of self to others
But in a more naturalistic way than other media such as telephone, email and internet
There is little potential of a gap opening up between the real and the projected
self that was possible on web 1.0
The people you are communicating with most already know you and know you outside
cyberspace
BUT, there is also a feeling for some that control is being surrendered
That others are posting photos of them and comments about them publicly
Though this is sometimes a driver of adoption - people want to hear what’s being said
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Modalities: gestures to sentences
Social networking sites allow users to communicate at a number of
points along the spectrum from simple, non-verbal gestures to full
sentences
Sentences
Gestures
Real world
Social
networking
equivalents
Tone of voice
Rhetoric
Logical arguments
Facial expressions
Body language
Proxemics
Rhyme
Rhythm
Nudges
Pokes
Gifts
Status updates
Graffiti
E-mails
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Gestures: Pokes and Nudges
‘Light touch’ methods of
communication are a key
development of SN sites
SN sites provide a conventional-
contextual ‘space’ in which
meaningful gestures can be made
These applications come in different
forms
Either public gestures as in this example
where you have the option to ‘Give ‘em
five’ – One person has decided to give
this person ‘five’
Or private gestures such as the ‘poke’ on
Facebook
Examples of other public applications
developed are ‘buying someone a
drink’; graffiti, etc.
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Creating a conventional/ contextual
medium for non-verbal communication is
a key factor in SN’s success
Pokes, nudges, status updates, walls etc. are examples of the way in
which SN sites provide a medium which ‘license’ users to
communicate over the web in informal, emotional ways
SN provides the conventional stage setting which enables the majority
of people who are not that comfortable with publicly and verbally
expressing themselves, to communicate in a more naturalistic, less
attention-seeking way.
Very few of the respondents we interviewed who had created a MySpace or
Facebook page would ever have dreamt of starting a blog
In this respect SN sites mimic language itself
i.e. they provide a shared set of conventions which extend users’ ability to
express themselves
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1-2-1
Gestures
Broadcast
Sentences
4 44 4
Profile updates
4 44 4
Status update
4 44 4
Wall post
4 44 4
Poke/ nudge (private)
4 44 4
Private message
4 44 4
Public gesture
applications, e.g.
‘give ‘em love’
(Bebo)
4 44 4
Adding photos to online album
4 44 4
Tagging individuals in photos
4 44 4
Adding music to profile
4 44 4
Add friends
Mapping different
social networking
functions
4 44 4
Public gifts
4 44 4
Marketplace
4 44 4
Video posting
4 44 4
Events
4 44 4
Group membership 4 44 4
Bulletins
4 44 4
Instant messenger
4 44 4
Music player
4 44 4
Private gifts
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E-mailing through F@cebook
Anecdotal evidence suggests that Facebook's email system is starting
to replace web-based email services such as Hotmail and Gmail
As Facebook alerts users to messages by emailing a notification it may actually
be driving up email use
Data produced by web measurement firm ComScore shows that the
balance of time spent on email services and social networking sites is
changing
Can now email people directly using Facebook email
By typing address in, just like ordinary email and its received back through
facebook account, even if they are not a member.
Indication that SN sites could quite soon become most users’ single
access point (homepage) on the web
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Members
Social networking groups bear the hallmarks of small naturally
occurring groups in the ‘real’ world
Relatively stable groups have both active (or dominant) and passive (or
submissive) members
There are also individuals who are peripheral to the core group but occasionally
join in with the core group
The group as a whole is very often visible to strangers on the network who can,
in theory, see what the group is doing and may (though rarely) interact with the
group
Peripherals (friends of friends)
Core group Followers/ passives
Audience of strangers
Core group
Leaders/ actives
Fluidity
Any one individual
could be a
different type of
member in
different groups
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Fluidity across members, modalities and nodalities
In face-to-face groups we are able to move very fluidly between the members of
the group that we interact with and how we interact with them
Social networking sites enable user to move with this same fluidity
This has considerable benefits:
One 2 one communication is too intense all the time
Get different things from different people – feed off the group
Chance to form closer links with new people - Different friendship alliances ‘my best friend
has another best friend’
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All Points Bulletin
1-2-1 with audience
Fluidity
1-2-1 private
Peripherals (friends of friends)
Core group Followers/ passives
Audience of strangers
Core group
Leaders/ actives
Fluidity
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4 44 4Group MMS
1-2-1
Gesture
Broadcast
Sentence
4 44 4 Group email
4 44 4 Mobile voice call
4 44 4
1-2-1 SMS
4 44 4
Mobile Video call
4 44 4
Group SMS
Social Networking is unique in its ability to allow fluid
movement between different modalities and nodalities
4 44 41-2-1 MMS
4 44 4
1-2-1 email
4 44 4
Instant messaging
Social networking
4 44 4
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Motivations and how Social networking
serves them
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Motivations - Belonging
Social networking sites enable users to maintain a sense of belonging
remotely and with relatively small investment of time and energy
Fear of not belonging has almost certainly accelerated growth of Social
Networking
Social networking sites facilitate sense of belonging in a range of ways:
Mere presence can lead to a sense of belonging
Members of your network update their own contact details/ profile information (using tools
such as Newsfeed – thus information is pushed to you
G You don’t have to have a dialogue with someone to know what they’re up to
On your own terms – you can go and seek out as much or as little contact as you want
Able to reveal as much/ little information about yourself – settings/ profile editing
“I'm socially inept, but I joined
Facebook anyway - even
misanthropes hate feeling left out”
(Source: Charlie Brooker, The
Guardian, May 21, 2007)
Maintain
established
networks
Re-build old/
out-of-date
links
Forge and
build new or
‘weak’ links
I like the fact that even if I don’t contact them [school
friends] all the time, I still know they’re there (Female, 23)
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Example: Newsfeed - Facebook
‘Newsfeed’/ ‘Home’ is available
on Facebook and Bebo
It is the homepage you first
login
It updates you on the ‘activities’
of your unique network
E.g. When someone has added
photos, amended their profile,
changed their pictures, made new
‘friends’, posted messages on
walls, updated their ‘status’, etc.
All activities will appear on the
newsfeed unless specified by
the person carrying them out as
part of their privacy settings
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Motivations - Support
Functions such as Wall posts and Status Updates allow gestures/ verbal
nudges to be communicated to a wide audience
This enable users to reach out for an emotional (or practical) response in a
very natural way
People are generally reluctant to make one-to-one requests for support
Puts pressure on the individual you’re asking to respond
Makes you feel ‘beholden’ to them
Formal one-to-one approach is inappropriate for these emotional ‘strokes’
Can’t be sure that they are the right person at the right time to respond
As others aren’t aware of the approach, there is no social reward for offering support
A ‘broadcast sigh’, on the other hand avoids these problems:
Pressure is not put on a single person
People volunteer to help rather than feeling obliged to
You send the invite out to a very wide range of people, thus maximising the probability that
it reaches someone who is in the mood/ has the appropriate EQ etc. to help
But there is also the incentive of appearing to be a caring person, good friend, sympathetic
type etc. in the eyes of others
A ‘sigh’ (gesture/ verbal nudge) is an appropriate way of eliciting a ‘stroke’
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Example: Facebook - Status Updates
Oh dear mate that does sound annoying
Lauren is annoyed that the small bit of
light I did have in my office is now
blocked out by a filing cabinet
PUBLIC BROADCAST
RESPONSE
Status updates appear to all of a person’s
network contacts on their homepage
when they login
Facebook has developed this functionality
further to make updating status as easy
and tempting as possible by adding
“<person’s name> is…”
Status updates are noted in the "Recently
updated" section of a users' friend list.
Builds on success of twitter:
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Motivations - Exchange
Rational Emotional
Gossip
Experiences (live or recent)
Arrangements
Ideas
Directions
Products and services
Brand advocacy Arrangements
There’s no specific thing that we talk about…I’m
online pretty much all day so whatever comes to
mind really…? (Female, 23)
I can’t think what we talk
about…basically if we had to pay for it,
we wouldn’t say it (Female, 21)
Social networking sites enable the exchange of a range of intangibles
From emotional and experiential ‘narratives’
To more rational forms of information and advice
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Examples: Exchange on Facebook
Example: Arrangements
Example: Brand advocacy
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Motivations - Recognition
One of the most fundamental human needs
Acknowledged as a key psychological need in various forms since the
time of the Ancient Greeks who called it ‘θυµος’ or ‘Thymos’
The information about you and content produced by you on an SN site is
present to an audience of close and more remote contacts
This provides scope to satisfy desire for recognition at a range of levels
Quality and persuasiveness
of advice/info you give
What you have been doing at
work/ in your leisure time
Content you have
created and posted
The number and types
of friends you have
Your personality as it comes across in
general communications with people







SN is a bottom-up medium
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Motivations - Expression
The ‘expression’ element of Social Networking is very broad
It can include anything from…
1. Demonstrating/ exhibiting another side or element of your personality
2. Promotion of your personal profile/ creativity in a professional context
This is a particular area where the facilitating function of SN has been
particularly effective, enabling individual’s who aren’t ‘conventionally’ creative
to express themselves through this medium
For example: Profile Photos, Wall posts, Gifts, Groups, Games, Status Updates, etc.
I only put thin photos on my profile, I’m
hardly gonna put fat photos on am I?!
(Female, 23)
Barely any of my friends knew that I was into
photography before Facebook, and now I get
loads of complements on pics I’ve taken (Male 28)
MySpace is a very good tool to get your face out and get
yourself noticed because so many people are on it (Male 25)
43
Example: MySpace – ‘About Me’
This is one element of a MySpace
profile page of a 23-year old girl from
Brighton
This page can be viewed by anyone
with Internet access
This particular element is the ‘About
me’ section.
Other elements of the profile include:
friend’s list; music, location,
relationship status, TV, books,
uploaded photos/ videos, etc.
Applications have been created which
can be merged within MySpace
An example of this is this countdown timer,
used here to countdown the days to a
holiday
Facebook notifies users via the
newsfeed when individuals in their
network update their profile page
44
Example: Facebook – New Photos
Uploading digital photos is a key driver of internet use for many
Initially used as storage due to limited nature of computer hard drives
Now has moved towards photo sharing, allowing friends/ relatives to look at
photos in own time and space
Social networking sites have made this process much easier by
having the network set-up already
Sites such as Facebook allow you to ‘tag’ individuals in the photos
you are likely to want to share them with
Showing everyone in network where you’ve been; what you’ve been up to, and
who you have been with
45
Motivations: Amusement/ Distraction
Entertainment is derived from both observing and interacting with the network
Passive: What people are up to? Other people’s stories, photos, relationships, gossip, videos
Interaction: conversation, tittle-tattle
There are also many applications which have been created to provide further
entertainment – e.g.
Quizzes
‘Fun Wall’ – post videos and pictures
Countdowns
‘Superpoke’
Gifts
‘Grow a gift’
Graffiti
‘Hebrew name’
‘Hot or not’
There are literally 100’s of these applications developed under Open API
conditions
Even when I haven’t had any
[email] notifications, I still can’t
resist going on the newsfeed just
to see what everyone else has
been up to
(Female 23)
Diverse range of passive/ low-level interactive forms of
entertainment on SN sites
46
Example: Amusement/ Distraction
Who uses
Who uses


social networks
social networks


?
?
48
User profile is much wider than some may imagine
Used to be / perceived to be:
Young
Nerdy
Possibly introvert
Single people trying to find a partner
Niche / weird – why would you do it?
Fanatical/ obsessive
Too much information / peeping tom
syndrome – invasive to read
Now more mainstream / less stigma
Wider (ever widening) age profile
Part of normal social life, rather than proxy
Maintain memory of good times
Method of keeping in touch with friends, old,
current and new
A ‘healthy’ creative process – developing page is
considered a skill by many, rather than a waste of
time
Reading other peoples sites and info as a valid
way to pass time – no peeping tom element to it
Internet users between the ages of 35–54 now account for
40.6% of the MySpace visitor base, an 8.6% increase since
2005 (Source: ComScore Media Matrix, 2006)
49
Snapshot of Current User Types
ATOMISED
•Use sites to retain
fragmenting social
circle
•Very intense type of
usage to
communicate, flirt,
date, build up a
network
• Supports ‘friends
become family’
phenomenon
characteristic of
twenties/ early-thirties/
urbanites, etc
PEER2PEER
•Peer driven - add
contacts and friends
as fast as they can
•Mainly teenagers
• Share photos of
nights out, people
they meet, etc
•Use full range of site
functionality
BROADCASTERS
•Primarily one-way
‘bulletins’
documenting personal
information relating to
specific places and
events they have
been part of
• One-to-one or other
2 way communication
is often secondary
driver of use
MATURE NARROW-
FOCUSED
•Social networking as
a tool for a very
specific purposed
rather than completely
natural immersion in
the Web 2.0 world
•More mature group
(over 35)
Made up of sub
groups:
• Curious Carers
• Hobbyists
• Romance 2.0
• Business networkers
HAPPY EVENTERS
•Usage often driven
by need to share
photos of a specific
event like a wedding
or of children
•This may then
spread to keeping in
touch with people in a
similar situation
IMMERSIVE/ AT EASE
50
Peer2peer: excitement and expansion
Generally teenagers who tend to be very accepting of social
networking practices and functionality
Technology and the internet is intuitive
See nothing odd in concept of “friends”, i.e. it is natural to
consistently build online network
This group is most likely to spend a long time personalising
their “space”
Using templates or other online services
Coincides with forming independent, adult identity
At this age the network itself appears very large but that is
due to lack of selectivity
A user may add everyone from their class, etc
Also often at ease with previously unknown contacts as friends
Some reported instances of others being “bullied” online
but generally the experience is a happy and active one
Anonymity in numbers
Most commonly used sites: Bebo; MySpace; Hi5
Youngsters aged 13 to 24 account for 85% of Bebo’s users
(Timeonline, May 2006)
PEER2PEER
•Peer driven - add
contacts and friends
as fast as they can
•Mainly teenagers
• Share photos of
nights out, people
they meet, etc
•Use full range of site
functionality
“It’s just what everyone does, I
can’t imagine not being a part of it”
51
Broadcasters: documentation of personal achievements
Usage driven from desire to document and disseminate personal
achievements and experiences
Some with slight tendency to narcissism
This group includes those people who use sites for promotional purposes
To further their music career, or individual profile
When young people go through major life events some feel the need to
share them
Travelling, going to University and leaving home
If travelling the user will update their blog and upload photos, etc. from internet cafés
Online networks make this very easy as allow this to take form of all
points broadcast (APB) / bulletin
Amending profile details, blogging, uploading photos, etc.
One-to-one communication/ keeping in touch is often secondary use
This form of communication is often in place of distinct previous
behaviours like sending postcards, phoning home, etc
As such, can cause some conflict with older generation who have “higher” expectations
BUT, can also spark interest amongst this older generation - see Curious
Carers (Mature Narrow-focussed)
Most commonly used sites: MySpace; Facebook, Blogger
“I set up my profile originally because I was going off for my gap year, and it’s
such an easy way to keep in touch and show people what you’re doing, plus
it’s a good way to store digital photos and look back on what you’ve done”
BROADCASTERS
•Primarily one-way
‘bulletins’
documenting
personal information
relating to specific
places and events
they have been part
of
• One-to-one
communication is
often secondary
driver of use
52
Atomised: counteracting fragmenting social circle
Use sites as means to retain control of fragmenting social circle
To keep in touch with friends, family and colleagues as they leave
university, start new jobs, travel, and change location
Use as ‘light-touch’ means to form closer links with less well-known
contacts
The core market for social networking sites
Socially active with fast moving networks which expand,
contract, overlap and even merge
Usage intensity is a result of age group’s appetite for group interaction
Supports ‘friends becoming family’ phenomenon characteristic of twenties,
early-thirties/ urbanites, etc.
Facebook's user base is growing at a rate of 3% overall each week, but by
6% a week in London. (MediaGuardian, July 20, 2007)
Spend a lot of time discussing nuances of communication
“Do you think that means he fancies me?”, etc.
At ease with technology, they use tools as they see fit
Most commonly used sites: Facebook; MySpace
“I have it on in the background all the time when I’m at work, it’s totally
addictive and I find myself looking at all sorts people I hardly even know”
ATOMISED
•Use sites to retain
fragmenting social
circle
•Very intense type of
usage to
communicate, flirt,
date, build up a
network
• Supports ‘friends
become family’
phenomenon
characteristic of
twenties/ early-
thirties/ urbanites, etc.
53
Happy Eventers: sharing their changing lives
When social relationships settle down then use of social
networking sites does as well
People may now start to have “joint accounts” on sites such as
MySpace or Flickr
People tend to emphasise the practical side of the sites
and exploit functionality directly
Sharing photos and / or videos being key ones
In some instances this group can start to build new
networks of similar types of people
E.g. Young Mums may join a network of other people in a similar
position
Consequently may draw in older relatives/ friends via
sharing
Most commonly used sites: Facebook, Photo-sharing
sites such as Ringo, Picasa which link individual’s online
photo albums
“It’s just a nice way to keep up with a few
people, especially now we’re living further
away and don’t go out quite as much”
HAPPY EVENTERS
•Usage often driven
by need to share
photos of a specific
event like a wedding
or of children
•This may then
spread to keeping in
touch with people in a
similar situation
54
Mature narrow-focussed: late and tentative arrivals
Essentially a “follower” group likely to have been drawn in by
others
Most likely to be reading other content rather than publishing their own
This is usually how they get started
Focus of use is very specific rather than immersive and
exploratory
Often fearful of range of site functionality and the risk of offending other
users
Can often be only person in their actual social network using
sites
Others will generally be younger
Specific focus can vary, resulting in a number of sub-groups:
Curious Carers
Hobbyists
Romance 2.0
Business networkers
MATURE
NARROW-
FOCUSED

•Social networking as
a tool for a very
specific purposed
rather than
completely natural
immersion in the Web
2.0 world
•More mature group
(likely to be over 35)
“I have a profile set up on Facebook as I was invited by
someone at work but I’m not really sure what I’m supposed to
do with it now I’m a member ”
55
Mature Narrow-Focussed: Sub-groups
Sole driver is desire to interact with more prolific users
of sites
Often in place of distinct previous behaviours like sending
postcards, phoning home, etc
As such, can cause some conflict with older generation
who have “higher” expectations
Using internet to its full advantage to connect with:
Those who have very specific interests
Those who may be spread geographically
Using social networking sites to communicate/
arrange activities
CURIOUS CARERS
HOBBYISTS
“My niece is in a band, so she told me to go
onto MySpace so that I could hear some of
their music…it’s very clever”
56
Mature Narrow-Focussed: Sub-groups
Searching for love/ new relationships
Technology is something which they need to learn if they wish to
succeed in their ‘quest’
Many traditional online dating sites have used elements of
social networking sites to refine their capacity for interaction
Presence of open/ closed networks in more mainstream social
networking sites often determine success as potential site
i.e. Site’s decision on extent of privacy settings allowed by individual
network members
This group are made up of naturally business-minded people
Success of social networking and ‘buzz’ around it has
piqued their curiosity
Feeling like they should be there as that’s where the market is
Searching for any potential commercial incentive of using it
ROMANCE 2.0
BUSINESS
NETWORKERS
Everyone seems to be
talking about it so it I just felt
like I should check it out
57
58
Dangers and discontents
1. Tension between identities established between different groups of which an
individual is a part
E.g. your friends see you in a different way from your family – what happens when the two
groups become exposed to the other you?
2. Collision of public and private ‘selves’
E.g. postings about wild nights out being seen by your employer/ boss
3. Hard to control your page
Things may appear there that you are not comfortable with but that you have been unable to
edit immediately
4. The dangers of having personal details on a ‘translucent’ medium
Hard to protect yourself from the attention of people you don’t know very well
A bit like being a celebrity hounded by the paparazzi/ stalkers etc.
Whilst Social Networking has generally been a
good news story, some users are becoming aware
of possible downsides:
Implications for brands and marketing
Implications for brands and marketing
60
Brand 2.0
In the world of web 2.0 consumers have little or no respect for
copyright, brand values and other publishing limitations
They want to take a brand and manipulate it, to use it as they see fit
This can take many forms from simplistic to more complex
E.g. a teenage boy may add a Nike logo to his MySpace profile
Or a middle aged woman may make a video attacking McDonalds
These are both seen as genuine and valid uses for a brand
If people buy from a brand they feel they have a right to comment
Surrendering brand control is key to exploiting the medium and
benefiting from it fully
Provides an insightful way to monitor consumer views
With the downside that they will not always be positive
G Offset by the fact that it is possible to show how you deal with issues
And a cautionary note that they may not be representative
61
How brands can make use of the medium
Good Practice
“Joining in” and using the sites in the
way they are used by consumers
Allowing negative as well as positive
comments and inferences
Giving people a reason to “view your
profile” (i.e. letting them have something
for nothing)
Making ‘friends’ (and letting everyone
know about them!)
Co-operating and being inclusive
Bad practice
Trying to be too controlling or precious with
your brand
Policing the site and attempting to portray
only the positives - appears dishonest
Expecting your brand alone to be enough to
pull people in when it does not
“communicate”
Openly competing and try to put others
down
Trying to take charge and being exclusive
Failing to observe best practice can be worse than not bothering at all as it can
make your brand seem as if it takes itself too seriously or feels that it is bigger
than “the community” (in the largest sense).
Social networking is like a language. Breaking the rules not only frustrates
your attempts to be understood but makes you look foolish and out of place.
62
User Generated…a truly democratic experience
“I really like that! Will it tell
me where the best shops
are to go?!” - Stephanie
“That’s just silly! But that’s
just what it is, isn't it? Just
a bit of fun, yeah that one
is alright….but I wouldn’t
add them” – Charlie, 25 yrs
old
Users are less
“suspicious” of user
generated
“branded” material.
63
……..Versus Brand Generated.
Top Friends include
other well known
brands - “influential
friends”
“Our philosophy” leads
you to believe that
H&M are honest and
authentic to
themselves and their
brand.
H&M even use their MySpace site to recruit people
to work for them and to display the latest lines and
designers at their H&M store.
“I don’t get that, why are they here?.....is it
just for free advertising?” – Anna, 25yrs old
64
Advertising seen as a necessary evil
People generally understand that as sites are free, they should expect
advertising to be present or they would have to pay
Very few were overly ‘precious’ about their sites – saw them as ‘in the public
domain’ and essentially not their personal ‘property’
Brands entering the site seen as a ‘necessary evil’ by some but others
responded positively to the idea if it’s done well
If you love something and it ‘finds you’ on your site, can be flattering
Would be happy to give feedback on football teams new kit etc.
Nike’s Joga site seen as an example of good corporate site
Transparently run by Nike but gives users a lot back
G Taps into the two-way reciprocal nature of these sites
“I guess your site is a bit like the bathroom really
– you know other people use it but when you
use it, it’s something you do on your own, and
something quite private at that time”
65
To ensure maximum acceptance, ‘go with the flow’
i.e. develop vehicles which
Facilitate/ exploit fluidity across members, modalities or nodalities
To tap into motivations for involvement in Social Networking
Branded ‘gifts’
Free gifts to send to people for particular emotional moments
E.g. enable people to send a to friends who are having a
bad day
Or send a to a friend who has had some good news
Launch virally or via an online ‘store’ of ‘friendly’ brands
Don’t overdo the realism/ don’t be a slave to the brand manual –
recognisable schematic of the brand/ product is better than excessive
realism/ precision
Don’t try to overspecify the emotions, moods or occasions they are
appropriate for – users will project and personalise meanings
G E.g. sending a Lamborghini to cheer up a friend who loves cars
66
Going with the flow
Widgets
Newsfeeds, vouchers, media clips, web-o-meters, timers, countdowns,
thermometers, metronomes, games, online radio stations, tourist
guides, desktop icons, gif animations, observatories etc etc …..
Find ones that link to your brand in a quirky and interesting way and
release subtly sponsored versions.
G E.g. Pimms countdown to summer
If the brand has a geographic heritage (e.g. Adnams Ale and Suffolk)
provide updates/ guides to that location
Try to create widgets that people will want to share
G E.g. the Pimms countdown to summer could be used by people to cheer
each other up
The future?
The future?
68
Hard to say for sure with such a democratic and
disruptive technology, but …….
Is it just a fad?
Possibly amongst some of the older segments, but it seems to meet very deep and ongoing
emotional needs amongst some of the younger segments
The integrative nature of the sites could lead people to become increasingly dependent on
them as home pages
G Keep an eye on the amount of e-mail traffic which re-routes through SN sites
SN is also a potential force for mobile internet convergence
G Thus could receive commercial support from mobile-internet providers seeking to drive up data usage
People’s anxieties about it at present are very few and low level.
G No comms technology (that we can think of) has ever failed because of worries about privacy and
confidentiality
Hard for new sites to overtake existing sites with improved technology as proprietary
technology is completely antithetical to the SN ethos
How important will it be for brands?
Potentially very important as it offers a low cost, ‘rough and ready’ channel option
Most of the ads that are produced for TV can be recycled on SN
Simultaneous TV-SN campaigns license simpler production values on TV
Will depend on brands coming to terms with the problem of shifting, malleable visual
identities
THE END
THE END
About us
Illuminas is an international marketing research
consultancy which prides itself on working with you to
identify the most appropriate method to reach your audience
and tailor findings to inform both strategic and tactical
decision making
We start from a method neutral position which means that
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requirements and the project team is selected based on
experience and understanding of your sector
We have a wide range of experience across a variety of
brands, audiences, services and techniques
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affect your organisation or find out more about how
Illuminas could help you with a more specific business
challenge please contact:
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john.connaughton@illuminas-global.com
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Group Director
mike.roderick@illuminas-global.com
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Research Director
jayne.griffith@illuminas-global.com