Davos 2008 Part Five: Social Sigma

I was involved in a session on social computing -- Facebook, MySpace, etc. I always bring Forrester data to Davos -- in an attempt to cut through the slugs of opinion/speculation emanating from all concerned. For U.S. people on-line, here's what percentage go to each of the following sites at least once a month: 31% YouTube, 29% MySpace, 22% Wikipedia, 8% Facebook, 3% Friendster, 3% LinkedIn, 1% Second Life. In every major country in Europe, MySpace is in the top three most popular social sites -- Facebook is only in the top three in the U.K. The social computing elite who populated my session beat me up about the data -- they all think Facebook is much bigger than the data suggests. My theory is that Facebook is the white collar place to be, and MySpace is too blue collar for the elite...

Loic Le Meur, the Olympian blogger/socialista, was our moderator. I asked him why he was so social (by 8:30 P.M. he had already sent 12 short messages to his on-line friends -- via a technology called Twitter). He had a good answer: he uses his social networks to hone his ideas -- the smart ones get perfected, the bad ones get shot down. The next day I asked Vinod Khosla, the venture capitalist, what he gets from blogging. Same answer -- its a way to get instant feedback on his ideas.

I call this phenomenon Social Sigma. You've heard of Six Sigma. That's the discipline that companies use to perfect products through process improvement. Social Sigma is using the continual feedback from your customers to perfect your products. More on this in an upcoming post.

Comments

re: Davos 2008 Part Five: Social Sigma

Based upon the experiences of my daughters and what has been published in the media it would seem that MySpace is more prevalent among younger teens than FaceBook, which appears more popular for college-age students and beyond. Do we know how the demographic profile of these services is changing over time?

re: Davos 2008 Part Five: Social Sigma

The beauty of online networks is lack of geographic constraint. Social sigma wouldn't work in practice without a critical mass of creative, analytical thinkers. With geographic constraints, the probability that such a mass could assemble decreases.Now I see the main constraint of developing social communities to provide the necessary (and desired) feedback is time. It takes time to find and connect with people whose opinions and ideas you trust and value. However, it's time well spent - and if one's ideas are challenged, the benefit is seeing the weaknesses in whatever ideas you're proposing, enabling you to address them.I can't wait to see you flesh out this idea further!

re: Davos 2008 Part Five: Social Sigma

Is the Social Sigma phenomenon you describe (great name) any different than the driving goal's held by an outside-in product manager? Product manager who seek the market input, so they can drive product development to mee the market needs, have product histories that have been proven more successful. Is this phenom truly new? Or, is it more the tools that enable the conversations provide faster feedback?I look forward to learning more as you continue to develop this area of interest.

re: Davos 2008 Part Five: Social Sigma

I started blogging in January (like you, I see) and found that 1) good ideas are the ones I can easily express in writing and the others need to percolate longer and 2) good ideas often can be repurposed. Therefore I was delighted to find a term for this, "Social Sigma".For example, recently I blogged about getting health advice while on hold on the phone (http://lisaneal.com/2008/01/26/a-receptive-audience-how-to-learn-when-yo...) and challenged a colleague who commented to co-author a column (http://www.elearnmag.org/subpage.cfm?section=opinion&article=94-1).I will note that while I enjoy having a label for this phenomenon, it reminds me too much of "Social Stigma". Maybe that's just me - have you gathered any data on this?

re: Davos 2008 Part Five: Social Sigma

Dannah Boyd, a PhD candidate at the School of Information (iSchool) at the University of California posted an interesting article several months ago on MySpace/Facebook user differences. The article hypothesizes that MySpace and Facebook user populations mirror the economic and racial divides of the real world.http://www.danah.org/papers/essays/ClassDivisions.html

re: Davos 2008 Part Five: Social Sigma

Out of about 100 million sites on the net, being in the top 100 is pretty good.However, it is MOST important to be top (or at least "present") in your "target community" -- e.g. socializing with Ph.D.s is irrelevant if what you really want is to play poker.:) nmw