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When Does a Social Network Become a “Publicity Network”?
Update: New post: Is Scribd a Porn Document Network?
Over the last week or so, Robert Scoble has mentioned several times that Facebook currently limits him to 5,000 "friends" and that the limit should be lifted. If we check his Twitter account, currently he has 6,500 friends. This discussion is not specifically about Robert but since he is the most vocal, I will use him as the post example. While Robert "friends" everyone who friends him, can he really follow each person’s conversation? With 6,000 people on Twitter, let’s assume 10% are active and post 3 messages a day, that’s 1800 messages per day to keep track of, not taking into account sleep/work/family time. I do see Robert reply to some messages on Twitter (no idea about Facebook) which is great, but is Twitter really more of a publicity networking tool for Robert rather than a social network (one which he uses very efficiently)?
When we look at accounts such as the Mashable twitter account, it’s clear that it is a publicity network. Pete posts only the new posts on Mashable and no conversation. I post many of my interesting pieces on Twitter. On Facebook we have companies such as Ticketmaster using it too as a publicity network. Jeremiah has a lengthy discussion about using Twitter as a social media tool.
A social networking tool becomes a publicity tool when "I speak, you speak, I reply, you reply" becomes "I speak, you listen".
Are these new publicity networks (Facebook, Twitter, etc.) the new press release? Think about it for a second, a press release is sent out to x journalists, news providers, etc. These new publicity networks do the same thing except in a quicker, more efficient way. In fact, Marshall over at RWW says these publicity networks are paying his rent. Naturally I am not suggesting that everyone uses these networks in a publicity-oriented manner, but it seems many of the smart marketers are doing so. As long as the people attached to your account (personal or business) understand that’s the use, then it’s a perfect marketing opportunity. In fact, these publicity networks may just overtake RSS in the long-term. And if you are working with a social media consultant who isn’t leveraging these new publicity networks where appropriate, you need to find a new consultant.