Social Media mimics real life

One of the main men in social media, Brian Solis, has just released some great research on how we use the tools that are available to us to network.
Social Networks
When the craze first started, we all frantically sought out friends past and present. Remember Friends Reunited? That seems like the steam age already, but it was in reality, less than a decade ago. And then Facebook. We quickly formed a network of friends.

Not really knowing what we were going to do with this new network, we followed the herd nevertheless. A competitive element seeped in...I have more friends than him or her. Our instinctive curiosity could be satisfied through checking out other profiles, ex girlfriends etc. Social networks also gave us a great sense of empowerment..shall I or shan't I accept their friend request.

But then most hit a brick wall. We literally run out of friends to invite, things to share etc. We get bored..we try to delete our Facebook accounts..only to reinstate them promising ourselves to waste less time on social networks as a whole, in the future.
Interest Networks
The brick wall having been reached, where do we go? We have all of our friends in our network. There is nowhere to go. So we turn to interests. Online dating sites have been grouping people by interests for years. Now we venture forth to make new connections based upon interest groups and conversations via social media, that we want to be part of. Twitter is the modern day internet forum. But its ability to harness the information of people..their interests, their background, professional profiles etc, makes Twitter nothing short of manna from heaven for brands.
Brand Networks are clearly on top of this game. They work with brands to determine what people are saying about the brand, who is steering the conversation...a Twitter search engine if you like.

All this is about is knowing our customers. The more we know about them through "listening" and research ( not an inquisition - a lot of the relevant information is on profiles/bios and in the conversations) the better brands can connect and engage.

This is a big leap from pushing out general marketing messages!