LISTSERV mailing list manager LISTSERV 16.0

Help for SOCNET Archives


SOCNET Archives

SOCNET Archives


SOCNET@LISTS.UFL.EDU


View:

Message:

[

First

|

Previous

|

Next

|

Last

]

By Topic:

[

First

|

Previous

|

Next

|

Last

]

By Author:

[

First

|

Previous

|

Next

|

Last

]

Font:

Proportional Font

LISTSERV Archives

LISTSERV Archives

SOCNET Home

SOCNET Home

SOCNET  October 2006

SOCNET October 2006

Subject:

Re: The hype goes on: MySpace & Business

From:

Scott Allen <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Scott Allen <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Mon, 9 Oct 2006 18:26:33 -0500

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (181 lines)

*****  To join INSNA, visit http://www.insna.org  *****

Don wrote:
> There are some who take a "network centric" view of networks, but there
> is huge research in ego networks, or how the networks appear to an
> individual inside of them.

I read everything I could get my hands on about ego networks in the course
of writing our book -- Borgatti, Everett, Hanneman, Burt, et al.  But
"huge"?  Google turns up less than 10,000 results on the phrase "ego
network", and very, very few of those are actual research papers, rather
than just brief mentions or definitions, and much of that is extremely
recent.

But... to clarify my original point, even the research on ego networks is
research on ego networks in aggregate. By that, I mean that it is the study
of the ego networks of large numbers of people, attempting to quantify their
ego networks in some way, then draw conclusions from the quantitative
analysis.

What I'm talking about is the personal, subjective viewpoint of the
individual, and a look at their practices as part of their daily lives. An
experiential point of view, rather than an external analytical one.

> There are many papers and other work about how diversity of
> social networks influences success in this area.  Wayne Baker, Andrew
> Hargadon and many more.  Since solo businesses do not have proximity
> determined by management, they need to be MORE aware of social networks.

We quote Baker extensively in our book -- I'll have to look up Hargadon.

Don -- I'm NOT saying they don't need to be aware of social network
concepts. We have an extensive section in our book explaining the basics of
social networks, another on structural holes, and so on.

That doesn't mean it's practical for the solo businessperson to go perform a
social network analysis of the various groups in which he participates.

> You seem to be arguing that it is easier to sell simple, one dimensional 
> platitudes in the form of stories to the people who want to do the least.

No, I'm arguing that there are more factors to a good solution than
correctness. Cost, return on investment, acceptable levels of risk,
speed/timing, political considerations and other human factors -- all are
part of the business decision process. And sometimes, the simpler solution
is better precisely because it's simpler, even if it's not completely
accurate.

It is often cheaper to be wrong and correct it than to make sure you're
right the first time. The computer software industry operates on this
principle. If they didn't it's unlikely they'd ever get a product out the
door.

This is often a sticking point for scientists, who will want to do it
correctly, regardless of the budgetary and time constraints. 

I respect that. We need people who think like that. But there will always be
a tension between that and the other constraints of business.

> It really seems like you are totally unfamiliar with the idea of
> networks.

I'll try not to take that personally, Don, but I think that's an unfair
statement. I admittedly have far less academic and research experience in
this area than most of the people on this list. But I have far more than the
vast majority of businesspeople or the general public. I routinely read this
list and any papers that come up in my Google alerts about social networks.
I have read many of the major books on the topic.

Don't tell me I'm ignorant -- just correct me.  :-)

> Humans constantly make errors about causation...You can claim that so and 
> so did such and such on MySpace and that because of it his business got 
> better, but how are we to know that is the real and only reason?

We don't. But to the person sitting there thinking, "How can I market my
business on MySpace?", all that matters is that it probably makes the odds
better than what they're doing now. Like you said -- it's so hard to
determine causation in a social setting. Can formal SNA do it 100%? Or does
it simply bump up the statistical significance a bit?

The person who reads the story, gets an idea how they can apply it to their
situation, takes action on it, and sees results... doesn't care.

> If something worked one year, why would we assume it would work the next?

Why would you assume it wouldn't?  You don't know it's going to work --
again, it's impossible to deterministically predict outcomes precisely in a
human network. So what you do is you try it again, but observing as you do,
looking for indications of unexpected results, then adjusting your actions
based on new input.

> What is a "thought leader" except the opinion of someone who uses the
> word?  Your argument is a tautology.  Though leaders are people who are
> called thought leaders.  Were there to be a process such as you describe
> and a measurable network effect that was identified as "thought leader"
> and the two corresponded, that would be interesting, because it would
> HINT that their might be some relation between cognition and network
> position.

Point taken. What I was suggesting was that the results of the two methods
would a) likely be similar, and b) there would be no way to verify either
result against some abstract "truth". The real answer to the question, from
the businessperson's perspective, is once you contact those 100 people and
engage them, what's the ROI on your marketing efforts?

BTW, I think that what you suggest would be really, really fascinating, and
if anyone here is ever interested in undertaking that research, I'd love to
be a part of it.

> You sent me your book and I commented on it early on.  I have told you
> then and I will tell you now that I think that you take a narrow,
> instrumental view of networks.  Your goal is to sell things and to
> expand the base of contacts a person has to sell more things.  There is
> nothing wrong with that, but there is a whole lot more to networks and
> knowledge of networks than that.

Unquestionably. And thank you for your input on our book. The subtitle of
our book is "opening doors and closing deals online", so I don't think
there's any pretense in what our purpose was. What started this conversation
was Moses' question about why businesspeople look at phenomena like MySpace
and identify social networks with that. I was attempting to offer a business
perspective on the answer to that. And the business view of networks is
generally going to be instrumental/utilitarian.

One minor clarification... while "selling things" is certainly one possible
instrumental use of networks, there are many others, which our book covers
as well: finding a job, hiring employees, finding strategic partners,
achieving your personal and career goals, etc.

> There are lots of things businesspeople can do that work at levels below 
> the analytic.

And this is where the academic/research community can get more recognition
for your work from the business community.

So where's the blog, where are the articles in mainstream business
magazines, etc., talking about this stuff?  This list is an echo chamber.
Take advantage of the network bridges into the business community, into
these social networking sites, etc.

> Sorry if I am being brutal, Scott.

Only once, briefly -- the rest is all constructive dialogue.

> I also think that network thinking and the things we are learning can 
> greatly help both businesses and individuals and I hate to see attempts to

> take a small subset reduced to the lowest common denominator presented as
> all there is for practical purposes.

Well, it certainly wasn't my intent to do that. I'm here because I'm
fascinated by the topic, and I've been reading and thinking along these
lines for about seven years. If I personally thought this were all
irrelevant, I wouldn't be on this list, I wouldn't be engaging in this
dialogue, and we wouldn't have devoted a chapter of our book to it.

What I hope comes of this is perhaps a better understanding of the business
perspective on the topic, which may lead people here to new lines of
thinking about what research even gets done, what kind of findings to look
for, how to publish and disseminate those findings, and how to help business
implement real-world solutions based on those findings.

Again, my virtual door is wide open. If anyone has a working paper and would
like to get a business perspective on it, send it my way.

Scott Allen
512-215-9720
http://LinkedIntelligence.com
http://TheVirtualHandshake.com
http://Entrepreneurs.About.com



-Don

_____________________________________________________________________
SOCNET is a service of INSNA, the professional association for social
network researchers (http://www.insna.org). To unsubscribe, send
an email message to [log in to unmask] containing the line
UNSUBSCRIBE SOCNET in the body of the message.

Top of Message | Previous Page | Permalink

Advanced Options


Options

Log In

Log In

Get Password

Get Password


Search Archives

Search Archives


Subscribe or Unsubscribe

Subscribe or Unsubscribe


Archives

September 2019
August 2019
July 2019
June 2019
May 2019
April 2019
March 2019
February 2019
January 2019
December 2018
November 2018
October 2018
September 2018
August 2018
July 2018
June 2018
May 2018
April 2018
March 2018
February 2018
January 2018
December 2017
November 2017
October 2017
September 2017
August 2017
July 2017
June 2017
May 2017
April 2017
March 2017
February 2017
January 2017
December 2016
November 2016
October 2016
September 2016
August 2016
July 2016
June 2016
May 2016
April 2016
March 2016
February 2016
January 2016
December 2015
November 2015
October 2015
September 2015
August 2015
July 2015
June 2015
May 2015
April 2015
March 2015
February 2015
January 2015
December 2014
November 2014
October 2014
September 2014
August 2014
July 2014
June 2014
May 2014
April 2014
March 2014
February 2014
January 2014
December 2013
November 2013
October 2013
September 2013
August 2013
July 2013
June 2013
May 2013
April 2013
March 2013
February 2013
January 2013
December 2012
November 2012
October 2012
September 2012
August 2012
July 2012
June 2012
May 2012
April 2012
March 2012
February 2012
January 2012
December 2011
November 2011
October 2011
September 2011
August 2011
July 2011
June 2011
May 2011
April 2011
March 2011
February 2011
January 2011
December 2010
November 2010
October 2010
September 2010
August 2010
July 2010
June 2010
May 2010
April 2010
March 2010
February 2010
January 2010
December 2009
November 2009
October 2009
September 2009
August 2009
July 2009
June 2009
May 2009
April 2009
March 2009
February 2009
January 2009
December 2008
November 2008
October 2008
September 2008
August 2008
July 2008, Week 62
July 2008
June 2008
May 2008
April 2008
March 2008
February 2008
January 2008
December 2007
November 2007
October 2007
September 2007
August 2007
July 2007
June 2007
May 2007
April 2007
March 2007
February 2007
January 2007
December 2006
November 2006
October 2006
September 2006
August 2006
July 2006
June 2006
May 2006
April 2006
March 2006
February 2006
January 2006
December 2005
November 2005
October 2005
September 2005
August 2005
July 2005
June 2005
May 2005
April 2005
March 2005
February 2005
January 2005
December 2004
November 2004
October 2004
September 2004
August 2004
July 2004
June 2004
May 2004
April 2004
March 2004
February 2004
January 2004
December 2003
November 2003
October 2003
September 2003
August 2003
July 2003
June 2003
May 2003
April 2003
March 2003
February 2003
January 2003
December 2002
November 2002
October 2002
September 2002
August 2002
July 2002
June 2002
May 2002
April 2002
March 2002
February 2002
January 2002
December 2001
November 2001
October 2001
September 2001
August 2001
July 2001
June 2001
May 2001

ATOM RSS1 RSS2



LISTS.UFL.EDU

CataList Email List Search Powered by the LISTSERV Email List Manager