Social media arguably broke through onto the worldwide scene at the start of the 21st century in more ways than could be expected. Successes such as LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter became known throughout the world as it attracted the attention of millions of individuals and business alike because of their social media prowess as a global online social media network.
Many thought of and still think of social media as the ultimate social connection based on the network theory of Six Degrees of Separation. Although not a new concept, originally set out by Frigyes Karinty in the early 20th century prior to the advent of online social media, it was theorized that due to technological advances in communications and travel, friendship networks could grow larger and span greater distances than ever before.
Basically, a chain of “a friend of a friend” statements could connect any two people in the world in a maximum of six steps. Although tested countless of times and popularized by play writers such as John Guare, celebrities such as Kevin Bacon in “Six degrees of Kevin Bacon, Stanley Milgram’s “Small World Experiment;” it was not until the spread of the internet that this social connection concept became engrained in our understanding of human connections and truly put the power of online social media into perspective for many people.
Create a Connection Through Shared Interests
Just as the initial breakthrough of social media was based on a social connection of the people you know and then the people they know and so on, social media is set to grow into its next stages of online evolution. This next stage is based not so much on the social graph constructed based on your social connections, direct and indirect, but is based rather more on shared interests, even if work-related or business related.
Interest sharing is typically more relevant to us as it is something that defines who we are and what we are rather than just who we know. The fact that we are connected to somebody we may or may not know, through some sort of indirect or long-lost connection, typically does not affect us the same way as being connected with a fellow enthusiast, fan or visionary. For example, would you prefer to talk to a person that shares your hobbies and passions or to a person you went to 4th grade with who you never really spoke to begin with?
Social Connections by Interest
At the start, the social connection created by online social media networks was based on some type of friendship or alleged friendship connection, direct or indirect. Unfortunately, such a social connection tends to get weaker as it gets larger because there is nothing really holding the social connection together other than alleged friendships rekindled or created through an online social media platform, not real life. A persons’ interests on the other hand are definitely part of a their everyday life as for many it is those interests that truly define them as individuals and often give them the drive to live.
A social connection created with an individual, entity or organization that shares even a small aspect of our interests is more likely to remain strong and flourish rather than just a mere virtual friendship that may or may not be real.
What does this all mean? Short and sweet, it means that social media goals should not be based merely on establishing a connection with as many people or entities as possible, but rather the connection should be based on shared interests or an aspect of such shared interests.
Quality over quantity, think in layers and good luck!