Darwinism & Social Media

I was reading an interesting article (http://bit.ly/66HdNo) on how to deal with the information overload that the new era of real time connectivity has wrought upon us. It is not only the volume of the info, but also the velocity with which information is being shared, that makes it seem so unmanageable. So, how do we sort through this clutter, and make sure we rank high on the “influence” scale in the “statusphere”. How can we achieve a high WOM (word of mouse)??

Enter Darwin, and the survival of the fittest –  only the most relevant, only the truly useful information will survive, in fact, excel. The owner of that information will rank high on the “influence” scale, and have the best shot at solving problems, addressing needs, and eventually, monetizing their wares.

Selective retention and absorption also explains how people process information, separate the wheat from the chaff, and ultimately impact influence levels.  We have all been conditioned, very early, to use the least amount of energy for a given task. So, we filter out information we think we don’t need. Hence, in order to be relevant,  you have to disseminate information that is consistent with your overall strategy and objectives, for being in this delightfully weird, wired and empowered world of today.

Finally, TIME. It takes time to  to fully realize the ROI of your efforts with social or civic or dynamic media, whatever you want to call it.  You need to find conversations of relevance, then listen, participate, contribute meaningfully, develop and nurture relationships, and if you have played your cards right, you would be TRUSTED, and  no doubt will generate significant ROI. Remember, it typically starts out with a one to one dialogue. A real human level connection. There is no substitute or shortcut to get you past that stage.

What do you think? Are there any other correlations you can point to?

Join the conversation. Wont you?



15 responses to “Darwinism & Social Media

  1. There’s also the intangible of intent. WANTING to be influential does not necessarily make someone more influential or more likely to *become* influential. In fact, like any other case of wanting something too much, being too obvious in your construction of influence is likely to push people away rather than endearing them to you.

    There’s an easy solution: care more about the work you do and less about its appearance. The most influential people I can think of are the ones who’ve done something indisputably amazing, not something shrewdly calculated.

    • Thanks for your feedback, Justin. You are right, Intent will manifest itself in your content, attitude, and your interactions. Honesty, genuine desire to contribute meaningfully, and distilled (useful) content will go a long way, in building a personal brand, that will have gentle, and effective powers of persuasion, instead of the all too overt (and almost never successful) car salesman approach. I do disagree, however, with your comment on “appearance”. You still have to have a polished appearance to attract your audience long enough for them to actually read the “GREAT STUFF” you have just put up on your site, not unless you are an Om Malik or Kevin Rose of the world.

  2. Like Justin said, even the slightest evidence of selfish intent can (and probably will) sink a social media campaign. As a personal example, I entered the online world because of my job, but I have never treated it like a marketplace for myself or my company. I’ve engaged people on pretty much every topic other than the focus of my company, and I’ve had fun doing it.

    Hopefully, when my site goes live, my new contacts will help propagate it through the internet, but even if they don’t, I won’t consider it a real loss. I’ve still got a network of trust, and if even one of them buys from me because we talked about football two weeks ago, I’ll consider it a bonus.

    I couldn’t care less if I have 250 followers or 2500 followers, so long as the level of interaction between me and others is the same.

    • Thanks for your thoughts, Joshua. But, lets be honest. There is always an ulterior motive. We all have it. It is only human. The trick is to overwhelm that ulterior motive under the weight of honesty, integrity, openness, and a heartfelt, genuine desire to help.

      All the best with your business venture, and keep sharing.


      • Very true. Luckily, I’ve struggled with it much less than I initially thought I would. I think it’s been easier for me to ignore, actually, simply because I treat it as play and not work. To me, that’s as important as being open and genuine. If it feels like work, you’ll treat it as an obligation. If it’s fun, then you’re more likely to be a persona and not an advertisement.

  3. Amen to that!

    Dont expect anything, and you will get more than expected!! I just made that up right now, but I think it drives home the point.


  4. This is a subject that is of vital interest to me. Imagine life 200 years ago. People farmed. Rode a horse. MIlked a cow. Helped friends. That’s the way it always had been and as far as they could see, always would be. Change was not an option, let alone a concern.

    Today, the speed of change will define nations, peoples and the success of individuals. It is the new evolution. The future does not belong to the fittest but to the most adaptable, those who can figure out how to use technological change for competitive advantage.

    Thanks for the great post!

    • No, the future will belong to fittest, not the most adoptable. The most adoptable is likely to be wiped out before they can finish adopting.

      This notion that the most adoptable survives is totally off the mark, but a most quoted statement.

  5. Brilliant observation, Mark.

    Thanks for sharing your wisdom.


  6. the correlation between Darwinism and Social Media is spot on. I would even add to it the concept of infolution (information evolution) – following Darwin’s theory of evolution and how new things are created based on a combination of two species – same applies to information – how many posts did you read about Twitter, Facebook, Google, etc … name any subject … you probably will get over a zillion hits on google – but people are still writing (just like you and I) – we take pieces of info and we create a new piece of info that should be twice as solid to survive – and hence the survival of the fittest.
    great post Prince! keep’m coming!

  7. At the heart of any producer-consumer relationship is a container. That container might be geophysical. That container might be the forces restricting communications. Both of these containers organized populations. As we have removed those constraints with improvements in transportation and communications, the populations became the containers, as they gave rise to cultures.

    Even with social software, we communicate only to a subpopulation. We do not have universal reach. Our influence is limited by our subpopulation.

    Given ideologies, any fact will have two populations: the adopters, and the rejectors. Se screen info as much as we consume it. We define outselves, and in doing so, we define the population within our reach, the population in which we have influence.

    I find myself blocking people I once considered friends. I find myself unfollowing. I do these things to control what messages reach me, what I respond to, and what is said about me. Maybe we have more control over our reach than we ever did.

    Evolution is out there in the content world. We have so much disinformation, myths, and sacred cows. When we listen to the distractions, we make ourselves powerless in the face of evolution. I don’t really care what info accumulates the largest audience. The real info is the stuff that only a few encounter. The notion that knowledge must be shared is utterly contrary to the way knowledge is actually valued in a knowledge economy. This is a geek creed, but it doesn’t pay in the long run.

    The internet is a control technology. Figure out what is being lost as we evolve. We are gaining nothing here.

  8. Rereading your post, the Darwinist notion of niche came to mind. We do not take on all communications. Communications organizes into populations, and populations organize communications. All that organization is expressed in a communications geography that gives rise to niches where subpopulations thrive.

    One you get to the niche, you enter into the realm of punctuated equilibrium and speciation.

    Twitter created a communications channel, a population network, subpopulation networks, content networks, idea networks, associative networks. Twitter created a multidimensional topography organizing niches. Speciation happened via the evolution of functionality like the DM, the hash tag, and the tweet chat.

    There is plenty of room for evolution in the sustaining innovation sense. The space for discontinuous innovation will reveal itself after the fact. Both require an infrastructural baseline, a base geography, a means to measure, fields imposing numerous indexes.

    Before Twitter, other like devices were around. Social software is not new. It’s been around for more than twenty years. It has changed the world. It has changed people, but only in the sense that we are more social, but this only because we became less social in the age of the atomic family. If you went back to the pre-WWII period, you’d be surprised at how social we once were.

  9. David – I was going to respond to your first comment, when I saw the second one. And now I am not sure what your point is.

    Let me agree to disagree on the following though:

    “The internet is a control technology. Figure out what is being lost as we evolve. We are gaining nothing here.”

    —-What is being lost is the stuff that we don’t need ie. being unsocial. By adopting social technologies, we are gaining our essence – that of a social animal. And that is a BIG gain.


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