SOCIAL NETWORKING EXPLORED
WHO OR WHAT GETS US TO JOIN/SIGN ON?
Social Networking is growing as a trend as the years go by. Just years ago, a small percentage of us used this trend and now it has become quite popular as we and technology kept evolving further, like in the last two years the amount of users on Facebook have quadrupled in South Korea since in January 2010 from as little as 400,000 to a whopping 1,800,000.
While researching this question, not many results did come up. A survey I created indicates most people both join these websites because they do not want to get left out because it was so popular to communicate on Facebook or because a friend convinced them and got them into it. The reasons vary but are along the same lines. While answering this question another inquiry slithered into my mind. What was the motive for users to join these networks in the first place?
Well, the number one reason for joining a social network is because of identity says Shama Hyder Kabani, author of The Zen of Social Media Marketing. For nonprofits and organizations, most people join social networks to showcase their identity, second to build relationships and following behind is to belong to a community. Users do not join because of community, it is often backwards.
When we like a page on Facebook, answer a question on Quora, recommend something on LinkedIn or tweet something on Twitter, we do these things not because of community because of identity. Really social networks about me, me, me!
Although this is about identity there is a paradox about it as well. Most organizations and institutions do not allow employees to display their personal identity. Organizations would rather have employees show their institutional identity. Bosses would often want their personal identities under lock and key.
At work, users would often put their institutional personality forward. In organizations, we hide away our social life as a matter of bureaucratic survival. The casual, free spirited expression of our real identity is considered inappropriate in 1` showcases why social networks are so popular. They are free spirited, spontaneous, dynamic and most importantly informal.