Micro-Social Networks: Data with Context

March 1, 2014
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ImageFor most consumers, social media has become the go-to source for entertainment, news, reviews and much more. The ever-increasing amounts of data shared through social media, however, have made it difficult to find the right information at the right time. A staggering 4.75 billion items are shared by Facebook users daily.

ImageFor most consumers, social media has become the go-to source for entertainment, news, reviews and much more. The ever-increasing amounts of data shared through social media, however, have made it difficult to find the right information at the right time. A staggering 4.75 billion items are shared by Facebook users daily. With the widespread adoption of smartphones and the emergence of countless publishing apps and tools, it’s now possible for anyone to become a publisher. As a result the number of sources of data – even on a single topic – continues to grow exponentially.

The overabundance of information online has, understandably, amplified consumers’ desire to weed out perceived irrelevant content from pertinent data. Moreover, the inability to easily find relevant information on traditional social media networks has prompted some users to decrease their use of such platforms.

Faced with a daily tidal wave of extraneous data, many consumers are searching for alternative approaches to seek out, organize and socially share information to communicate about what’s relevant to them.

New personal publishing social platforms, such as Hibe, offer consumers a means of overcoming this issue of large disaggregated data flows. By empowering users to create and contribute to micro-social networks built on top of existing social media platforms, they enable the social sharing of relevant content and act as a single destination for people to easily access contextual data from multiple touch points. By doing so, they facilitate meaningful relationships based on shared interests and passions.

 

Drowning out the pertinent

The paradox is that the more people share online the harder it becomes for consumers to find relevant data. Considering the amount of content that is shared through social media, it’s easy to understand how nuggets of pertinent information can be lost in the pile. More than 250 billion photos have been posted on Facebook, with in excess of 350 million photos shared every day.[1] In terms of video content, more than 100 hours of video are uploaded to YouTube every minute.[2] 

Unfortunately, according to a February 2014 survey by Ignite Social Media, 43.2% of Facebook users in the United States found the content in their News Feed less relevant than they did six months ago. As a result of this perceived dearth of pertinent data, 34.4% of users say they are using Facebook less.[3] 

This is due in part to changes to the Facebook algorithm, with the Story Bumping and Last Actor factors influencing the data users receive through their News Feeds. These changes mean content from pages consumers don’t actively engage with will disappear from their feeds over time, unless these pages pay to promote their posts. As highlighted by Derek Muller, the creator of Veritasium, users simply want to see the best content out there, but increasingly they’re just being shown content from the highest bidder.[4]

The value of micro-social networks

Unsatisfied with the lack of pertinent information available through traditional social media platforms, consumers are seeking alternative means of accessing relevant data, whether it’s text, video or audio.

Micro-social networks can provide the necessary structure for consumers who wish to share, organize and access appropriate, timely data within the context of a specific interest. Through platforms like Hibe, users can engage in relevant conversations and connect with like-minded people by creating and joining safe, secure communities focused on their passions.

In addition to offering consumers a greater context to share data, micro-social networks can be synched to related websites, forums and/or existing social media profiles to provide users with a single unique destination for all interested parties. This will encourage discourse and communications with timely information. Time is a critical component. For example, a topic such as privacy might not have been a burning issue yesterday, but today the hacking of a major retailer’s database might bring heightened awareness and more immediacy to the discussion. Micro-social networks must enable their users to fine tune their needs and communication patterns based on changing interests and exogenous influences.

These niche communities present a setting for users to build meaningful relationships with others who share their passions. They enable consumers to follow inspiring people and learn from their relevant experiences – thereby cultivating new friendships as well as business and mentoring opportunities.

In the social media age, content is undoubtedly king. But if consumers continue to struggle to find and share relevant data in a timely manner, its reign may not last long.



[1] Facebook, Ericsson and Qualcomm whitepaper, “A Focus on Efficiency” (September 2013): https://fbcdn-dragon-a.akamaihd.net/hphotos-ak-prn1/851575_520797877991079_393255490_n.pdf

[2] The Next Web, “YouTube reveals users now upload more than100 hours of video per minute, as the site turns eight” (May 2013): http://thenextweb.com/google/2013/05/19/youtube-100-million-hours-per-minute/#!wvhLm

[3] Ignite Social Media, “ 43.2% of Facebook Users Find the News Feed Less Relevant” (February 2014): http://www.ignitesocialmedia.com/facebook-marketing/users-find-facebook-less-interesting-less-used/

[4] Veritasium, “The Problem With Facebook” (January 2014): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l9ZqXlHl65g