Social Networking Grows Up


It’s very interesting watching the depth and breadth of the analysis following Facebook’s event yesterday in San Francisco.

I don’t think I’m going out on a limb to say that most people think of Facebook as a social network for college kids; after all, it was only last fall that it opened up membership to anyone.  And the numbers pointing to its growth trajectory have been impressive.  What particularly caught my attention amidst all of the coverage was this nugget from David Kirkpatrick’s insider’s piece:

Work networks are exploding, with 14,000 at IBM, 10,000 at Ernst & Young, 8,100 at the BBC, and 6,300 at General Electric. The U.S. Army network has 43,000 members.

Now, B2B marketers and communicators need to take notice.  CEO Mark Zuckerberg talked during the media event about the "social graph", or as he describes it, "the series of nodes and connections, with the nodes individuals and the connections the friendships."  It has been well-documented how word of mouth and peer influence work so well on a social network.  Much of the influence on Facebook comes from community members seeing what their like-minded peers are consuming.  And now with Facebook’s platform strategy, we’ll see an explosion of services that will provide new channels for B2B marketers, e.g. Digg’s new Facebook-specific version.

I can’t wait to embrace the possibilities.