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How social networks reshape business by reshaping us

August 17, 2010 55 Comments

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HwbX4HUOdE8&feature=related

I wanted to share with you this video of a speech by Nicolas Christakis from the Harvard Dept. of Sociology, on the shaping powers of social networks. He does a wonderful job of explaining stastically the forces and dynamics that drive social networks. In this case he uses the case of obesity to demonstrate how our behavior affects others, whether it be family member, friends or strangers.

He also examines the currency of those exchanges – emotions. Why do we visibly emote rather than let our emotions remain internal states of being? How do we read others emotions and why do we copy them? What are the dynamics of emotional contagion?

Christakis uses the example of Facebook to study how your taste in movies, books or products affects your friends opinions distinguishing between the different types of online friends. In doing so, he helps us understand how business can work in tandem with such dynamics enabling a company to be relevant, sharable and social online. Plus what’s required to sustain a networks once it’s built.

Many of us – myself included – assume there’s a basic human trait that drives social networks; we simply like to be in communication with each other. But by examining these drivers and how they work, Christakis helps us understand how they work so we can use them to do some good. In fact he concludes the very reason we build and sustain networks is for the benefits of a connected life. In short, the flow of goodness.

Do you agree with his analysis of drivers? Is there any others you would add to his list?

55 responses to “How social networks reshape business by reshaping us”

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    Thanks to you, the We First Social Branding Seminar was a success!

    On February 1st and 2nd, the first We First Social Branding Seminar brought together 142 brands for a 2-day workshop that took each company from brand definition, through storytelling, to social media rollout and leadership for the future. It turned out to be an amazing event, and we appreciate all the support of our community.

    Thanks to the wonderful sponsors and attendees, the event supported over 40 non-profits whose important work addresses everything from cancer research to ocean clean up to child literacy. These organizations were able to join the We First Social Branding Seminar free of charge and participate in the social branding blueprint and training process.

    The fantastic sponsors included the United Nations Foundation, Causecast, HP, SocialVibe, Radian6, CSRWire, PRNewsire, Social Media Monthly, GOOD magazine, Project 7 and Chico Bags.

    To check out some pictures from the event [2]click here. It seems this time, 142 was a magic number. Join us next time to be a part of the magic at the
    next event.
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    Why the Future looks very bright for Facebook

    The Facebook IPO is set to exceed even stratospheric predictions over the
    past few weeks, with private equity firms estimating its valuation will
    exceed the $100 billion dollar mark. For those that scratch their head at
    such a valuation, here are a few points to consider:
    * 9 in 10 online Americans are on social networks.
    * Facebook was the #1 visited website in 2010 with 8.93% of all U.S.
    visits.
    * People on Facebook install 20 million applications a day in the network.
    * 250 million people engage with Facebook on external websites every
    month.
    * 2.5 million websites have integrated with Facebook including 80 of
    comScore’s U.S. Top 100 websites and over half of comScore’s Global Top
    100 websites. Source: comScore and Harris Interactive 2011

    In fact, here’s what two analysts are saying about the importance of
    Facebook to social commerce in our future.

    “It’s a matter of time—within the next five or so years—before more business
    will be done on Facebook than Amazon”
    _Sumeet Jain, Principal, CMEA Capital_

    “In three to five years, 10 percent to 15 percent of total consumer spending
    in developed countries may go through sites such as Facebook”
    _Mike Fauscette, Analyst, IDC Consulting_

    Current Events Links

    Facebook IPO
    [3]http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/02/01/facebook-ipo-filing-revea_n_1248
    434.html
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    Groupon Losses
    [4]http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/02/08/us-groupon-idUSTRE81727B2012020
    8
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    Linked In Profits
    [5]http://online.wsj.com/article/SB…7213481184138066.html
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    [6]http://allthingsd.com/20120209/linkedin-profit-jumps-30-percent-as-revenu
    e-more-than-doubles/
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    Google+ Privacy
    [7]http://www.washingtonpost.com/business/economy/google-tracks-consumers-ac
    ross-products-users-cant-opt-out/2012/01/24/gIQArgJHOQ_story.html
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    Inside Scoop

    As part of the We First Community, we wanted to give you the inside scoop on
    something very exciting coming up. In the next couple of months we’ll be
    launching the We First Social Blueprint as a DVD set and online program.
    That way you can work through the repositioning of your brand specific to
    this marketplace at home, at work, or share it with your team or colleagues.
    You’ll be the first to know when it’s ready so that your company can
    leverage social media to grow awareness, profits and positive impact this
    year.
    [8]Twitter4 [9]facebook [10]Linked in [11]YOU TUBE
    Simon Mainwaring is an author, blogger, speaker and founder and CEO of We
    First, a social branding consultancy. A former Nike creative at Wieden &
    Kennedy, Portland, and worldwide creative director for Motorola at Ogilvy,
    he is a member of the GMI Digital Advisory Board, the Advisory Board of the
    Center for Public Diplomacy at the Annenberg School, AdAge’s Power150 and is
    an Expert Blogger for _Fast Company_. [12]
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    The Value of Purpose Guest post by Morgan Wells

    _“Customers buy the why before they buy the how. You get paid for who you are and not what you make. Community can only be built around a shared vision.”_- We First Social Branding Blueprint, 2012

    A recent interview study of Harvard MBA students suggested young leaders are reconnecting with purpose and redefining what it means to succeed. As one of the Passion & Purpose^1 co-authors put it, “the days of signing up for a 20-year, pre-configured journey to the top are over.” Rather, in our age of social connectedness, economic uncertainty and technological hyper-drive, the next generation of leaders is struggling to define its path, and discovering a different connection to life’s purpose along the way.^2

    When the most recent Edelman goodpurpose® report asked respondents whether they’d be “more likely to buy products and services from a company” if they knew it supported a “good cause,” the majority (by an average of more than 65%) said yes.^3 Participants said they would favor a purposeful brand in ten of the 13 countries surveyed.^4

    Clearly purpose is alive in business discourse, but when you think through
    the renewed importance of purpose to your business, there is still more to
    consider.

    For decades, brands enjoyed the luxury of broadcasting messages to a captive
    audience and using carefully crafted advertising to generate sales for
    brands. Since their audience was not as media-savvy as consumers today, they
    didn’t really need to focus so heavily on the why behind the brand.
    Nowadays, however, consumers are deeply informed through the web and widely
    connected through social media. As such, brands must shift their
    communication posture, moving from celebrity to chief celebrant of their
    communities. In doing so, purpose has a new and powerful role to play
    connecting with customers around shared values.

    If I were asked on a survey whether purpose is important, I’d answer yes,
    and I’m willing to assume most others would, too.^5 After all, purpose is a
    good thing, right? That’s self-evident. But how often do we stop to think
    about what that purpose means for our businesses? Is purpose just an idea in
    our heads, an artful mission statement pinned to the wall, or a fashionable
    word to throw around at meetings? Or is it an authentic and persuasive
    marketing strategy that demonstrates your commitment to what your customer
    community cares about and our shared futures?

    Take a moment think about the purpose of your business. How clear is its
    definition? How distilled is it into simple, human and emotional terms? How
    connected is it to your personal values and the vision you have for your
    company? How is purpose building your customer community, profits and a
    world you want to live in?

    To explore how well you’re defining, articulating and sharing your
    company’s purpose, [2]opt in to receive a free ‘Defining Your Purpose
    Worksheet’ PDF.
    Links:
    2. http://www.wefirstbranding.com/opt-in?utm_source=We+First&utm_campaign=9d36fb0008-&utm_medium=email

    _*When you opt in, you’ll remain on the newsletter list you’re already on,
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    you have a lot to read already!_

    1 [3]Diversify Your Dreams’ by Daniel Gulati. 2 [4]Passion and Purpose:
    Stories from the Best and Brightest Young Business Leaders by John Coleman,
    Daniel Gulati, W. O. Segovia, Harvard Business Press Books, 2011. 3
    [5]goodpurpose® 2011. 4 goodpurpose® 2011. Sample included respondents from:
    Brazil, Canada, China, France. 5 From a research design perspective, we
    should be mindful of the effects of the survey situation on the data.
    Self-reported connection to a concept like “purpose” seems to logically skew
    toward the affirmative.
    Links:
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    4. http://hbr.org/product/passion-and-purpose-stories-from-the-best-and-brig/an/10343-HBK-ENG?utm_source=We+First&utm_campaign=9d36fb0008-&utm_medium=email
    5. http://m.goodpurposecommunity.com/?CategoryName=More%20Likely%20to%20Buy&utm_source=We+First&utm_campaign=9d36fb0008-&utm_medium=email

    Current Events Links

    SXSW: What you missed
    [6]http://mashable.com/2012/03/13/every-awesome-moment-you-missed-at-sxsw-pi
    cs/
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    Mobile
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    [9]http://www.eweek.com/c/a/Mobile-and-Wireless/Google-Mobile-Business-to-Gr
    ow-80-in-2012-Munster-878918/
    http://venturebeat.com/2012/01/22/tablets-tablets-everywhere/?utm_source=We+First&utm_campaign=9d36fb0008-&utm_medium=email
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    The Social Branding Seminar Experience

    As we’ve been going through some of the testimonials footage from the We
    First red carpet at our Social Branding Seminar, held last month in LA, we
    are blown away by what the attendees had to say. We First is beyond grateful
    to have such a wonderful community of people working to change the way they
    do business to engage more fully with their customer communities and
    contribute to positive social change in the process. And, we are so happy to
    be a part of that process, helping to provide the social branding training
    it takes to get there.

    Check out the [11]testimonial video, and stay tuned for an announcement of
    the details of the next We First Social Branding Seminar, coming soon!
    Links:
    11. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nzopeYzgn38&utm_source=We+First&utm_campaign=9d36fb0008-&utm_medium=email

    If you’re receiving this newsletter from a friend and are not yet on our
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    news when we announce the next seminar. You won’t want to miss it.
    [13]Twitter4 [14]facebook [15]Linked in [16]YOU TUBE
    Simon Mainwaring is an author, blogger, speaker and founder and CEO of We
    First, a social branding consultancy. A former Nike creative at Wieden &
    Kennedy, Portland, and worldwide creative director for Motorola at Ogilvy,
    he is a member of the GMI Digital Advisory Board, the Advisory Board of the
    Center for Public Diplomacy at the Annenberg School, AdAge’s Power150 and is
    an Expert Blogger for _Fast Company_. [17]
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    The Importance of Brand Storytelling

    Guest post by Morgan Wells

    As you know, the social business marketplace is changing the way brands must interact with their customers, and in order to communicate effectively and nurture genuine relationships, companies must reconnect with their own purpose for existing and operate directly from that purpose. As we discussed in [2]last month’s newsletter, when a company’s every action, product and campaign emerges from a clearly defined and consistently articulated purpose, its customers can develop deeper relationships with the brand and its products and services.
    Links:
    2. http://wefirstbranding.com/newsletter/03-12?utm_source=We+First&utm_campaign=b64ac8db8e-&utm_medium=email
    Even for the most innovative and socially responsible companies in the world, having a clearly defined purpose is not enough. Companies must share the story of the brand and its purpose, simply and genuinely, with their customer communities. To start, every business must think about key brand story elements including what the company does and whom it serves in
    relation to its purpose, vision and values. Once these key story elements
    have been identified, the company then needs to share it with its customer
    community using the _Six C’s of Effective Brand Storytelling_. To connect
    with your audience in a meaningful way that can drive profits and positive
    social contribution, brand storytelling must be _community-facing,
    counter-intuitive, creative, collaborative, caring and compelling_.

    Two of the most important C’s here are _community-facing_ and
    _collaborative_. Companies can no longer rely on the 30-second television spot
    and full-page newspaper ad as effective advertising and marketing tools
    alone. The days of the monologue are over, and social media has already
    transformed the business landscape. So, in defining your purpose and
    developing your simple, emotional and authentic brand story, make sure it’s
    focused on your community (for example, the shift from Coca-Cola’s “The Real
    Thing” to “Open Happiness) and invite your customers to collaborate and
    share in the process of telling that story in ways that are meaningful to
    them.

    Here are a few links that demonstrate effective, community facing brand
    storytelling:
    [3]Coca-Cola Content 2020
    [4]Coca-Cola Where Will Happiness Strike Next
    [5]Nike Make it Count
    Links:
    3. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LerdMmWjU_E&utm_source=We+First&utm_campaign=b64ac8db8e-&utm_medium=email
    4. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x_9fQEqZCWs&utm_source=We+First&utm_campaign=b64ac8db8e-&utm_medium=email
    5. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gLLFPfk14UI&utm_source=We+First&utm_campaign=b64ac8db8e-&utm_medium=email

    Current Events Links

    [6]Facebook Acquires Instagram
    [7]Google Releases Augmented Reality Glasses
    [8]Rebuilding the Web Around People
    Links:
    6.
    7.
    8.

    About Simon

    Simon Mainwaring is the founder of We First, the leading social branding
    firm that provides consulting and training to help organizations build
    positive images, profit and positive social impact. His book, We First, is a
    New York Times, Wall Street Journal and Amazon bestseller. It was named an
    Amazon Top Ten Business Book for 2011, 800CEORead Top Five Marketing Book
    for 2011, and global management magazine strategy+business named it the Best
    Business Marketing Book of 2011. Simon is a member of the Sustainable Brands
    Advisory Board, the Advisory Board of the Center for Public Diplomacy at the
    USC Annenberg School, and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts in London,
    as well as an influential blogger for Fast Company, Huffington Post,
    Mashable, GOOD magazine and Forbes. Simon was included in Trust Across
    America’s, ‘Top 100 Thought Leaders in Trustworthy Business Behavior for
    2012.’ He has been featured in Advertising Age, Adweek, Huffington Post, Inc
    Magazine, Fast Company, GOOD Magazine, and Mashable, as well as appearing on
    the Business News Network, CBS, CBC, BNet and Harpo Radio. Prior to founding
    We First, Simon was a Nike creative at Wieden & Kennedy, Portland, and
    Worldwide Creative Director for Motorola at Ogilvy, receiving over sixty
    international advertising awards. His consulting, speaking and training
    clients include Google, Nike, Coca-Cola, General Motors, Toyota Prius,
    Gucci, Patagonia and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

    Simon blogs at [9]simonmainwaring.com and the We First website is
    [10]WeFirstBranding.com
    Links:
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    10. http://www.wefirstbranding.com?utm_source=We+First&utm_campaign=b64ac8db8e-&utm_medium=email

    What We Do

    More than once we’ve been asked, “I love the idea of We First, but exactly
    what do you do?” Fair question. And thanks for asking!

    We First is a social branding firm that provides consulting and training to
    help companies build communities, profits and positive social impact. Our
    clients include:

    1. Large companies seeking to bring their brand purpose and values to life
    through storytelling and social media in ways that are meaningful to their
    customers and profitable for their business.

    2. Personal brands, start-ups, and social enterprises that want to define
    their brand, their story, and marketing strategies to succeed in the social
    business marketplace.

    3. Non-profits that want to leverage effective storytelling and social media
    strategies to build their brand awareness, donor communities, and social
    impact.

    Specifically, our services include:

    _Consulting_ to define a brand’s purpose and take it to market using social
    technology. This can be on a project or retainer basis.

    _Training_ to provide leadership insights, employee culture shifts, and
    customer engagement. This ranges from a 12-month Partners Program, to a
    2-day seminar, to half-day leadership workshops.

    _Speaking_ to provide strategic business insights, best practices and the
    latest thinking around social business specific to your industry.

    To find out how you can work with We First, contact our Business Development
    Director, Morgan Wells, at 310-878-4418 or email
    [11]contact@wefirstbranding.com
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    Listen, Then Speak: The Key to Brand Communication

    Guest post by Morgan Wells

    In business, as in personal relationships, listening first and speaking second is one of the simplest – and one of the most overlooked – maxims that can make or break the success of communication. In today’s real-time marketplace, social media provides an unprecedented opportunity for understanding the customer, and it all starts with listening. Monitoring social media networks, category influencers and interest groups through a social listening service like TweetDeck (personal) or Radian6 (enterprise) can provide the data you need to begin to connect with your customers on a more meaningful level. This is not about spying or poaching; this is about truly listening to what the marketplace is saying about your company, your service or product, and your industry at large, so that you can more effectively develop your brand identity, fine tune your communication strategies, and shape your products to answer their needs even before you speak. It’s like listening intently to a friend’s workplace challenges before providing advice. It simply creates a better, stronger relationship.

    When you engage in social listening, it’s important to monitor
    brand-related conversations, respond with a customer focus, distribute
    relevant content, co-create ideas, products, services and marketing,
    and reward engagement and participation in your customer community.
    When your company moves from this point of true listening, it can then
    speak with confidence and genuine connection to what its customers care
    about. And, when you begin to communicate in this way, you must speak
    softly, listen loudly and act quickly with content that is
    conversational, clear, authentic, consistent and honest.

    In terms of tone, your brand voice should be empathetic, accessible,
    human (think funny, rather than serious) and direct. If you listen
    first and then communicate in these community facing ways, you will be
    well on your way to creating longer-lasting, deeper relationships with
    your customers. This enables you to build your brand, and its products
    and services, in a way that resonates with customers who then drive
    your bottom line profits.

    Are you ready to strategize your listening and speaking?
    Click here for a free [2]Listen First Worksheet.
    Links:
    2. http://wefirstbranding.com/newsletter/05-12/We_First_Listen_First_Worksheet.pdf?utm_source=We+First&utm_campaign=f7008d7d99-&utm_medium=email

    Current Events Links

    [3]MOBILE: More Smartphone Owners Use Location-Based Products
    (Mashable)
    [4]SOCIAL ENTERPRISE: The origins of the impact economy and why the
    sector is blowing up today (GOOD)
    [5]CORPRATE: Oil, Water, And Food: How Our Largest Companies Are
    Managing Our Most Important Resources (Fast Company)
    [6]GAMING: Insights and Emerging Trends (Techcrunch)
    [7]ENTERTAINMENT: 5 Tech Advances that are Transforming Digital
    Entertainment (Mashable)
    Links:
    3. http://mashable.com/2012/05/11/location-based-services-study?utm_source=We+First&utm_campaign=f7008d7d99-&utm_medium=email
    4. http://www.good.is/post/where-did-social-enterprise-come-from-anyway?utm_source=We+First&utm_campaign=f7008d7d99-&utm_medium=email
    5. http://www.fastcoexist.com/1679808/oil-water-and-food-how-our-largest-companies-are-managing-our-most-important-resources?utm_source=We+First&utm_campaign=f7008d7d99-&utm_medium=email
    6. http://techcrunch.com/2012/05/11/gamification-insights-trends?utm_source=We+First&utm_campaign=f7008d7d99-&utm_medium=email
    7. http://mashable.com/2011/02/09/advances-digital-entertainment?utm_source=We+First&utm_campaign=f7008d7d99-&utm_medium=email

    Recommended Reading

    If you want to invest time in social media education, start here. Three
    essential social media books include:

    The End of Business as Usual in which Brian Solis walks you through how
    to restructure your business with employees and customers to profit in
    today’s marketplace.

    Next up is Mari Smith’s, The New Relationship Marketing, in which she
    explains step-by-step how to build a loyal and self sustaining social
    community.

    Finally, check out Peter Kim’s Social Business by Design, which
    explains how to structure your organization, what systems to put in
    place, and how to ensure you’re one of the success stories of social
    business.

    Oh wait, and what’s that other one…Me First, He First, She First? Let’s
    just call it We First: How brands and consumers use social media to
    build a better world!

    [8]Twitter4 [9]facebook [10]Linked in [11]YOU TUBE
    Simon Mainwaring is an author, blogger, speaker and founder and CEO of
    We First, a social branding consultancy. A former Nike creative at
    Wieden & Kennedy, Portland, and worldwide creative director for
    Motorola at Ogilvy, he is a member of the GMI Digital Advisory Board,
    the Advisory Board of the Center for Public Diplomacy at the Annenberg
    School, AdAge’s Power150 and is an Expert Blogger for Fast Company.
    [12]
    Links:
    8. http://twitter.com/simonmainwaring?utm_source=We+First&utm_campaign=f7008d7d99-&utm_medium=email
    9. http://www.facebook.com/wefirst?utm_source=We+First&utm_campaign=f7008d7d99-&utm_medium=email
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    11. http://www.youtube.com/WeFirstTV?utm_source=We+First&utm_campaign=f7008d7d99-&utm_medium=email
    12. http://wefirstbranding.com/bio?utm_source=We+First&utm_campaign=f7008d7d99-&utm_medium=email

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  5. We First is seeking an Administrative Assistant.

    We First is a leading social branding firm, founded by Simon Mainwaring, that provides consulting and training to help companies build communities, profits and positive social impact. The vision of We First brings the scalability of mobile and social and online technology to the corporate training space. We are currently seeking a detail-oriented, total rock-star Administrative Assistant to help with general administrative duties as well as social media execution. Duties will include calendar management, travel and itineraries, online research, database maintenance, transcription, project assistance and some social media execution. We First has a lot going on, so we need someone who can handle a lot of detailed communication and deal with rapid deadlines. Ideal candidates are highly organized, efficient communicators interested in supporting a business that believes in contributing to the greater good through the work that we do. Someone who loves organizing details and facilitating communication with a nurturing and upbeat personality will do well in this position. We are seeking someone to handle our admin long-term, so candidates must be secure and happy knowing they will be handling administrative details as a primary job function. Candidates must have Bachelors degree or equivalent and at least 2 years administrative experience with an ability to work in a fast-paced business environment. Candidates based in Los Angeles with social media experience are preferred. After initial training, this position can be remote (ie. work from home), but for at two-week trial and training period, we ask that you join us in person at our Santa Monica offices.
    The Administrative Assistant position is available immediately.
    15-20 hours per week*
    Flexible schedule
    Compensation starts at $18 / hr

    *Position can become full time for the right person, depending on experience and ability to contribute.
    Send a cover letter and resumé to contact@wefirstbranding.com to apply.
    ==============================================
    You are receiving this email because of your interest in We First.

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    Our mailing address is:
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    1223 Wilshire Blvd.
    #1730
    Santa Monica, California 90403-5400

    Our telephone:
    310-878-4418

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About Simon Mainwaring

Simon Mainwaring is the founder of We First, a leading brand consultancy that provides purpose-driven strategy, content, and training that empowers companies to lead business, shape culture, and better our world.

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