So I did a little work on understanding who is in my network on Twitter and what I found is that some members are more aligned to what I want to do and others are not. Essentially some relationships are more valuable for me than others. I currently use auto-follow capabilities and it continues to change the shape and scope of my network, not always in the positive but it makes for easier management. At this point, where I used to have to manually follow folks I now have to manually stop following. Not sure which is better, but with just a little more data and a little more context it might be easier to automate or to even manage manually. I’d fully manage Twitter manually if I have information to deliver higher value relationships on average.
Hit or Miss
Today with the available information on a profile there isn’t a whole lot of information to decision from. Right now from a manual perspective, I can look at how many followers and how many they follow, which to me is now an interesting metric I’m going to use as part of my manual unfollow process, but the only influence indicator is follower count. There is currently no set of information to know how folks appreciate being in a given network or their social capital. Ultimately trust and value become additional network dimensions which happen over time, but there could be information display to improve decision making.
So what could be exposed which might encourage following certain folks over others? I know there is grader, but grader is raw numbers and it effectively favors the “old” folks on the platform and personalities, who may not be adding the value today, which they used to add to a nascent platform. “Old” being those that showed up early on the platform, since network size appears to have some relationship to date registered on Twitter, no data, just an observation. According to Grader’s site here are some of the attributes:
- The number of followers you have – (I suspect it is the biggest weight)
- The power of this network of followers – (MAGIC?)
- The pace of your updates – (second biggest attribute?)
- The completeness of your profile
- …a few others
Developing a Network Brand
What you do, how you react and how others engage ultimately is what develops a network. So what would give someone a view into these attributes which may indicate “trust” and “value” without having to follow them back and wait and see? How the network reacts to a given user is what might help. More visibility to how a given user is engaged or the perceived value of those which were/are in a user/brands network. I guess you can do this through the use of a couple of tools – Grader, search.twitter.com and a couple of others, but that takes a bunch of time.
Essentially each of us are building a brand community and your actions plus your network’s reactions are what helps develop a brand. So it might be good to have a feature from Twitter which will help, not so sure it is an existing API capability today or a reasonable extension for the future. Such an influence/noise metrics could be as follows:
It even stays with the “slim” UI capabilities which appears to a Twitter core value. Since Twitter, social networks and social media in general are quickly becoming a key channel to drive access, visibility and participation for corporate brands and personal brands. With this reality being at the right place and developing trust is imperative. This type of feature would help with social media placement, promotion and brand development. Of course a standard would be cool, but I know that’s not possible, so I’ll move on. This will ultimately provide a better way to find/participate in high value networks, discussions and channels for brands. So what would be the benefits for folks with this type feature on Twitter or any other platform?
- Participate in high quality networks for areas of interest
- Develop important relationships with folks like you
- Provide you access to folks that can help with ideas and content and build your brand.
- Help prioritize where you place your brand online since there isn’t infinite resource or capacity in this economy.
I know there is the obvious question to ask – wouldn’t groups help manage most of these? Not really, only helps indicate affinity, not necessarily value. So in the end, this type of a capability would provide additional metrics which enables folks to understand where to participate from a network perspective. Social media needs more metrics – metrics for business, users and brands.
The metrics could also be used for a given user to improve how he or she interacts with folks to ensure they are delivering value to their followers, I guess this knife cuts both ways. I guess these types of metrics would also be valuable for the development ecosystem too – another life that cuts both ways.
Oh if we could automate trust. I guess we can’t. Oh if we had a way to better understand social capital and how to effectively place a social brand. Now that’s a possibility.