One morning, there’s just one in your email inbox.
The next day there’s three. And after that, they don’t stop coming.
So-and-so would like you to join them on Plaxo/Ning/Xing…
And suddenly, a social network you had never thought of, often never heard of, is frankly spamming your inbox.
The phenomenon is a product of what sociologists call “an extreme networker”, that is a person who is extremely good at meeting new contacts and keeping in touch. They join a network and invite almost everyone from their contact book to come with them. Extreme networkers usually get their way. So the rest follow and invite you to come.
Do we remember to use this spontaneity as we build our online communities?
- When you have identified your community and begun your research, don’t forget to ask them which social networks they already belong to. You are going to spend quite some time encouraging your community to get online. You do not want to be faced with the additional job of pushing your community to sign up to the social network you chose rather than their own before they even sign up to your group.
- Better still, see the presence of your chosen community in an existing social network as a opportunity. Still do you research. But follow your community and set up in their backyard. I’ve called this the “Trojan Horse” approach when looking how to get social networks started.