TWO OF A KIND?
Connected in Social Media
Membership is the feeling of belonging or of sharing a sense of personal relatedness.
It includes five attributes:
Boundaries — How do people become members and what are the boundaries keeping others out
Emotional safety — By building boundaries and including the right people, you create trust and a feeling of safety
A sense of belonging and identification — Members must feel like they fit in and that this is “their community”
Personal investment — If members contribute or make sacrifices to the community, it enhances their sense of community
A common symbol system — Sharing a symbol like a sports team jersey or gang colors creates a sense of community
So, it’s important to not just invite anyone and everyone to your community. Think about what you want your community to be about and who would make your community better. Make sure that anyone who joins is going to be a good fit.
Influence, or a sense of mattering. It must work both ways, with members feeling like they have influence over the community and the community having influence over the members.
Members need to feel rewarded in some way for their participation in the community in order to continue to contribute.
This is why it’s really important to talk to your users and get a really good idea of who they are. Then you can understand their needs and how the community can best serve them.
All healthy communities have a story. Members will have a history of experiences together and the belief that there will be more experiences together in the future.
Homophily and Social Media Use
Homophily: a theory in sociology that people tend to form connections with others who are like them in characteristics such as socioeconomic status, value, beliefs or attitudes. When is the last time you hung out or were friends with someone you had nothing in common with?
Probably not anytime recently, it is hard to connect with someone who you have nothing in common with or with someone who you feel like understands your point of views or your beliefs.
The fact that similarity breeds connections, the principle of homophily, has been well-studied in existing sociology literature. Several studies have observed this phenomenon by conducting surveys on human subjects. These studies have concluded that new ties are formed between similar individuals. This phenomenon has been used to explain several socio-psychological concepts such as, segregation, community development, social mobility, etc.
Platform Algorithms and Homophily
Facebook is probably the biggest example of a social media platform using algorithms to significant effect. Part of the reason for this is because the platform is so big and simply opting for a chronological news feed was only inviting constant spam as people battled to get noticed.
According to Facebook, they want to make sure that people receive the content they care about. It made it extremely difficult for businesses to get noticed, and many say that this algorithm changed opened the era of ‘pay to play’ on social media.
In short, the algorithms for Facebook are all about only showing people the content that’s seen as relevant to them. For marketers, they need to focus their content not on views and reach but engagement. This even applies to paid ads. The lower your relevance score the higher it’s going to cost to run.