This is precisely the question that @danielberkal and Seattle’s Cole + Weber United set out to answer in 2011.
Presented at social media week [#SMWTO], this study is deeply insightful and organized in thought – so much so that I am often sharing the story of Daniel’s presentation around the office and to clients.
What does it mean to be social? To be interesting and interested.. in an age where social media plays such importance. In my POV, brands are reaching a coming of age – that ‘doing social media’ is passé and that being social is what’s next. But how to do this is wonderfully explained by his study. And it is a presentation that is thought provoking to those who understand a lot about digital as well as for this who know nothing. It transcends quite nicely.
Conducted in five cities across the US, Daniel & co. invited ten strangers to ‘speed friend’ to understand what makes people want to friend. Next, he studied individuals with ‘social gravity’ (some would call them social butterflies, and yet, social butterflies do not like that label). For his team to pursue the butterfly, they asked participants to think of the one individual among their friends or colleagues that people wanted to spend the most time with. They then only studied individuals who, through multiple, unconnected sources, had been identified more than 3 times. He goes into great depth into the characteristics and behaviours of people with social gravity – all the while annotating the work through film. Finally, he takes this study into the online world to compare, contrast and offer valuable lessons for brands in social media.
It is well worth extra effort to see his whole presentation. In Toronto, he is speaking at NXNE, June 11 – 17.