A recruiter friend of mine getting into the social network and social media scene asked me what’s driving the uptake. There are a number of terrific blogs out there cheerleading the social media movement which have looked into this, and of note particularly is Marshall Kirkpatrick’s thoughtful post on common objections to social media adoption. Like Marshall, I’m not convinced persuading anyone to join the party is a fruitful exercise.
However, I do think watching out for conditions which may lead someone to adopt social media tools and spurring on adoption is helpful. I’m taking a queue here from Sun Tzu’s classic treatise – creating conditions for victory is imposible, but taking advantage of conditions for victory which present themselves leads to success. Watch out for these needs if you want an opportunity to introduce someone to social media tools, and carpe diem.
I’d argue people join social media to do one of four things:
Belong to a Group – Maybe your friends all joined myspace, so you did also. Maybe you joined Twitter to connect with people with the same interests, or perhaps because it gave you a direct line to speak asynchronously with people whose work you’ve come to value. Prime example: Facebook
Office chat/gossip participation – I’m talking about the watercooler chat effect taken online. We’re particularly primed for this kind of adoption considering all the M&A activity during the past few years, which creates coworking situations between distant geographic locations. Another driver is the rise of telecommuters. Prime example: Twitter.
Nature’s Call – This is my polite term for saying that a number of people sign on to social networks to find potential romantic parters. To put it more colloquially, people log on to get laid. It sounds funny, but I know at least two guys who signed on to Myspace and Facebook for that express reason. Prime example: Myspace.
Get a Job or Sale – Basically networking to advance one’s career objectives; to network with influencers to get hired, get a starup partner, or get a contract executed. Prime example: Linked in.
So there you have it.. the “Bong” framework. I can’t think of any drivers falling outside the four basic buckets outlined above. Can you?