Monday, December 8, 2008

Anti-Social - Sorry

It's been a while since I posted to this blog - I've been running around Tokyo in the hectic year-end season. Every night another function, hosted by one company or another. What's the point?

Actually, the point is pretty simple and it took a slow lunch with a friend on Sunday to bring it to my attention. Humans are social animals - we delight in the company of others and fret when we're alone. Those are evolutionary traits designed to promote the survival of the species. I hadn't seen this friend for some time, and he's a little down-in the-dumps because of the global financial crisis. Generationally, he's not a social media user so I wasn't aware.

The functions I've been going to are a good example of physical social networks - that's where I caught up with my friend, and then made some time to talk to him about his problems. Digital social networks are a metaphor for "network-ing" events, just not time- or location-limited.

Social networks - and I mean digital social networks - simply replicate existing behaviors. Sure, it's greatly enhanced by technology and we now reach many more people than ever before possible. But the underlying behaviour is identical. Uh-huh, but so what?

Well, if we want to be successful in building social media tools that engage and delight people we must build them around behaviors - not around technologies. More than ever before, successful marketing will depend on our ability to understand what makes people tick rather than what makes them click. For me, understanding the 3 components of an audience (demographics, psychographics, and technographics) and then building a set of personas is as important as ever ... maybe more important.

Thought for the Day: When some-one comes to you with a brilliant idea to utilize a technology, maybe you should ask what social behaviour it models. Otherwise, you'll just be playing with the latest shiny toy.

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