10 August 2006

Birds of a feather flock together

There’s a lot of truth in the adage ‘birds of a feather flock together’ – and social networks are a living proof of this.

Social networks bring us things we desire, adding value to our lives and creating opportunities which we would not have otherwise found for ourselves. Some of these ‘things’ are intangibles, such as connecting us with people just like us, so we can share our lives with them. And in the process, we can also have fun, entertain ourselves, enjoy developing our hobbies and passions, and build our careers and businesses.

There have always been social networks which have brought people together over common interests and ideals. In the Christian society, for example, the Church has always encouraged this, as it does even today, with the notion of keeping together people of the same faith. Although traditionally, religion and culture have been the prime movers of social networks, today, there are social networks belonging to almost every sphere of life.

However, unlike the animal kingdom where birds of a feather always flock together, human social networks are open to the vagaries of human behaviour. In short, there is little loyalty in human social networks. Their members (both offline and online) often switch networks when something more exciting comes along, or if their friends and associates leave one network for another. Or, they drop out altogether when they simply lose interest.

This leaves us with a problem – that of retaining members in our social networks. What seems to be natural instinctive behaviour (and a law) in the animal kingdom, turns out to be a marketing dilemma in the human world.

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