Having read lately about the migration phenomenon that some network sites have experienced from their users to Facebook, it makes me wonder why other network sites have remained intact in the face of the Facebook hurricane? The answer must be somewhere in the core value of the social network.
And the core value of a social network depends whether it is an object-centric or an ego-centric social network. An object-centric social network offers a value that is only multiplied by the network, but that stands alone without the network: like flickr, where people go in and connect themselves because of photography. The object is the linking theme between the individuals, and this make the network more resistant againt migration.
On the other part, in an ego-centric social network, (as Myspace can be once that the music focus is not clear), the core value is limited, lies on the network itself. Without objects who act as ties between the individuals, the susceptibility of migration is way higher. As an example, individuals who migrate from Myspace to Facebook have as a chore reason the restablishment of a new network, which in turn is easily accomplished as the migration phenomenon goes on.
This analysis implies the following: sociality is object centered. In other words, social networks are just not made of people. Instead they’re made of people who are connected by shared objects. Thus, social objects are the core for a social network to work succesfully.
More thoughts on social objects are collected by Hugh Macleod.
Also from Hugh Macleod is the following observation, which I found englightning to say the least:
“The most important word on the internet is not “Search”. The most important word on the internet is “Share”. Sharing is the driver. Sharing is the DNA. We use Social Objects to share ourselves with other people. We’re primates. We like to groom each other. It’s in our nature.”
Deeper on the migration phenomenon: Social Network Transitions