Understanding Users of Social Networks

“If the ongoing social networking revolution has you scratching your head and asking, “Why do people spend time on this?” and “How can my company benefit from the social network revolution?” you’ve got a lot in common with Harvard Business School professor Mikolaj Jan Piskorski.

Only difference: Piskorski has spent years studying users of online social networks (SN) and has developed surprising findings about the needs that they fulfill, how men and women use these services differently, and how Twitter—the newest kid on the block—is sharply different from forerunners such as Facebook and MySpace. He has also applied many of the insights to help companies develop strategies for leveraging these various online entities for profit. […]”

Interesting Insights taken from this Article

  • When they address real failures in the operation of offline networks.
  • Improve people’s ability to use offline social networks as “covers.”
  • The biggest discovery: pictures. “People just love to look at pictures.”
  • Deep gender differences in the use of sites.
  • Overall, women receive two-thirds of all page views.
  • Piskorski says these findings do not hold for one network: Twitter.
  • 90 percent of Twitter posts were created by only 10 percent of users.
  • More women on Twitter than men.
  • Today’s perception is that Twitter has the buzz and Facebook has the users. MySpace? Dead.
  • Its user base is not really growing, but 70 million users is nothing to sneeze at.
  • Not anywhere near the media hubs .
  • You need to shift your mindset from social media to social strategy.

Read the whole Article

Sean Silverthorne, “Understanding Users of Social Networks.” HBS Working Knowledge. September 14, 2009

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