I just logged into LinkedIn to find out that I’m now connected and somehow linked to one million people. What does that mean? Is there value in having “access” to these people? I certainly can’t call all of these people my friends. After hitting one million LinkedIn connections, it’s making me think about all the social network sites that I’m on and how all of them a common element, a quantitative measurement.
Facebook has total number of friends. Facebook has fan and group pages where people set up groups with goals of seeing how many people will join. Some groups openly state “I want to see how long it takes to get one million people to join”. There’s six degree of separation groups. There’s studies that show we’re all six degrees away from having a online conversation with Kevin Bacon.
Twitter keeps track of people that you’re following, how many people are following you, how many updates you have made. I look at some people’s numbers like the “Scobleizer” and he is following 21,000 people and being followed by over 32,000 people. 32,000 people, good grief, that’s equivalent to nearly 70% of the population of Redmond, WA following his tweets. You just got to wonder how that makes him feel knowing each time he posts a tweet he’s got all those people listening. He could almost start charging money to advertisers that want him to say something about their company.
Biznik, a business social networking site also has activity metrics. They have some algorithm that measure things like number of referrals, message posts, comments, events attended and hosted, all these things add up to how high you show up on the member page. You’ve got to be mad dog active to show up on the first page and people seem to be jocking for position to stay there. If Biznik showed each member how many points they had, it would be even more crazy as people would be trying to earn as many points as possible to pass others up and get on the first page which would give their company more exposure.
Plurk has Karma points. You are shown your Karma points and it goes up and down based on how active you are, how many people you invite to join, how many plurks you write and how many people respond to your plurks. I’ve been on Plurk for a month now and there have been periods where I’m so busy that I just don’t have to plurk. When I do find time to log in and plurk, I find that I’ve lost a ton of karma points. I end up working hard to get those points back up because it sucks to lose your karma.
Basically everyone of these social networking sites has something that keeps you coming back. I think these sites are striking a nerve with everyone. Am I the only one thinking that this like some kind of fantasy sports game only it’s about real people and everyone is trying to amass huge quantities of people points?