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Seth, Harvard and understanding social network users

Today’s guest post comes from Professor Mikolaj Jan Piskorski from the Harvard Business School.

HBS’s Sean Silverthorne summarizes of the article:

Many business leaders are mystified about how to reach potential customers on social networks such as Facebook. “Understanding users of social networks” provides a fresh look into the interpersonal dynamics of these sites and offers guidance for approaching these tantalizing markets.

Key concepts include:

  • Online social networks are most useful when they address failures in the real world (Mark: Note the city pairs mentioned in the article).
  • Pictures are the killer app of social networks.
  • Women and men use these sites differently.
  • Businesses shouldn’t consider social networks as just another channel.

The biggest discovery: pictures. 70% of all actions are related to viewing pictures or viewing other people’s profiles.

Knowing that (you really should have known that already, think about it), how does this alter how you present yourself online?

That it isn’t just another channel is something that even some legendary marketing experts still don’t seem to get.

What do I mean? You’ve probably noticed it before but you (like me) maybe didn’t think to say anything about it. 

As you might expect, Hildy said something.

Earlier this week, she commented that even Seth Godin, the Seth that we’ve all learned so much from, doesn’t allow comments on his blog. How is that serving his Tribe?

Even Seth should know (and I’m sure he does) that it’s a conversation, not just a broadcast channel.

Which makes the situation even more curious. Do what Seth says, not what Seth does – at least in this instance.