The survey of 5,000 U.S. social media users found that Facebook members were the most loyal among regular users of the four major social networking service (SNS) destinations – Twitter, MySpace and LinkedIn being the other three – and that they also saw the most value in the hugely popular service.

When users among respective SNS were asked in which network was the most valuable, 75% said Facebook, followed by MySpace (65%), LinkedIn (30%) and Twitter (12%). Flipping the question, only 29% of respondents said they could “probably do without” Facebook, compared to 43% for Twitter and 35% for MySpace; LinkedIn also scored 29% on this query.

Facebook has 78 million regular users, defined as those logging on at least once a month, according to the Anderson Analytics report, followed by MySpace (67 million), Twitter (17 million) and LinkedIn (11 million). MySpace has the youngest user group, with an average age of 29, while LinkedIn’s audience is the oldest, 36 on average, the survey found. The average age of Facebook users was 34; for Twitter, it was 33.

The Anderson Analytics report, found an estimated 110 million people in the U.S., or 36% of the total population, are regular users of social networking sites. Youth is still a major determinant of social networking usage, the report found, with 61% or 67 million regular users, defined as those logging on at least once a month, under age 35.

Social networking site usage has increased over the past six months, according to the report. Users of Facebook (59%), Twitter (59%), and LinkedIn (53%) were much more likely to say their social networking site usage was increasing compared to users of MySpace (40%).


“The book examines the powerful forces driving this social e-revolution, describes the equally powerful reactions to it, and makes predictions about its far-reaching consequences. As the bookʼs subtitle states, Throwing Sheep in the Board is about how the Web 2.0 revolution is transforming your life, your work, and your world.” (*)

An animation depicting the excellent book by Mathew Fraser and Soumitra Dutta from INSEAD

By Gary Hammel (Wall Street Journal)

1. All ideas compete on an equal footing.
On the Web, every idea has the chance to gain a following—or not, and no one has the power to kill off a subversive idea or squelch an embarrassing debate. Ideas gain traction based on their perceived merits, rather than on the political power of their sponsors.

2. Contribution counts for more than credentials.
When you post a video to YouTube, no one asks you if you went to film school. When you write a blog, no one cares whether you have a journalism degree. Position, title, and academic degrees—none of the usual status differentiators carry much weight online. On the Web, what counts is not your resume, but what you can contribute.

3. Hierarchies are natural, not prescribed.
In any Web forum there are some individuals who command more respect and attention than others—and have more influence as a consequence. Critically, though, these individuals haven’t been appointed by some superior authority. Instead, their clout reflects the freely given approbation of their peers. On the Web, authority trickles up, not down.

4. Leaders serve rather than preside.
On the Web, every leader is a servant leader; no one has the power to command or sanction. Credible arguments, demonstrated expertise and selfless behavior are the only levers for getting things done through other people. Forget this online, and your followers will soon abandon you.

5. Tasks are chosen, not assigned.
The Web is an opt-in economy. Whether contributing to a blog, working on an open source project, or sharing advice in a forum, people choose to work on the things that interest them. Everyone is an independent contractor, and everyone scratches their own itch.

6. Groups are self-defining and -organizing.
On the Web, you get to choose your compatriots. In any online community, you have the freedom to link up with some individuals and ignore the rest, to share deeply with some folks and not at all with others. Just as no one can assign you a boring task, no can force you to work with dim-witted colleagues.

7. Resources get attracted, not allocated.
In large organizations, resources get allocated top-down, in a politicized, Soviet-style budget wrangle. On the Web, human effort flows towards ideas and projects that are attractive (and fun), and away from those that aren’t. In this sense, the Web is a market economy where millions of individuals get to decide, moment by moment, how to spend the precious currency of their time and attention.

8. Power comes from sharing information, not hoarding it.
The Web is also a gift economy. To gain influence and status, you have to give away your expertise and content. And you must do it quickly; if you don’t, someone else will beat you to the punch—and garner the credit that might have been yours. Online, there are a lot of incentives to share, and few incentives to hoard.

9. Opinions compound and decisions are peer-reviewed.
On the Internet, truly smart ideas rapidly gain a following no matter how disruptive they may be. The Web is a near-perfect medium for aggregating the wisdom of the crowd—whether in formally organized opinion markets or in casual discussion groups. And once aggregated, the voice of the masses can be used as a battering ram to challenge the entrenched interests of institutions in the offline world.

10. Users can veto most policy decisions.
As many Internet moguls have learned to their sorrow, online users are opinionated and vociferous—and will quickly attack any decision or policy change that seems contrary to the community’s interests. The only way to keep users loyal is to give them a substantial say in key decisions. You may have built the community, but the users really own it.

11. Intrinsic rewards matter most.
The web is a testament to the power of intrinsic rewards. Think of all the articles contributed to Wikipedia, all the open source software created, all the advice freely given—add up the hours of volunteer time and it’s obvious that human beings will give generously of themselves when they’re given the chance to contribute to something they actually care about. Money’s great, but so is recognition and the joy of accomplishment.

12. Hackers are heroes.
Large organizations tend to make life uncomfortable for activists and rabble-rousers—however constructive they may be. In contrast, online communities frequently embrace those with strong anti-authoritarian views. On the Web, muckraking malcontents are frequently celebrated as champions of the Internet’s democratic values—particularly if they’ve managed to hack a piece of code that has been interfering with what others regard as their inalienable digital rights.

The way I see it, collaboration is the antithesis of winning. Players in a game can be focused in terminating the game by winning or by declaring once side as the loser. In collaboration, all players are focused intently in keeping the game going.

Wikipedia is indeed a finite game, but has embodied many traits of an infinite game. For example , there is WP:IAR: If a rule prevents you from improving or maintaining Wikipedia, ignore it., i.e. if a rule prevents the game to continue, ignore it. The challenge is, thought, as Wikipedia grows in importance, authority, and reach, its basic principles of collegial collaboration, civility, anybody can edit, free content, and neutral point of view (WP:FIVE) are being challenged by more traditional forces, which I would call routinization. This routinization is visible in the quite large body of policies, guidelines, manuals of style, etc. that has developed as well as the processes developed to keep the game going: Arbitration, Administrators, Page protection, Bans, Blocks etc.

As soon as these routinizing aspects begin consuming too many resources — and in Wikipedia the only resource is volunteer time (besides the $$ needed to run the servers and keep a small staff) — the purpose of the game begins to be lost: Rather than build new articles, improve new ones, expand the number of players, encourage participation, etc. the most experienced people and those with most time, tend to spend their wiki-time in areas that limit play. I am not arguing that these tasks are not needed; they are. Only that over time, the fundamental principles of Wikipedia get lost or constrained in such a manner that it impinges in these principles and may eventually lead to terminating play.

As a former Wikipedia editor that invested quite a bit of time in that area, I am aware of the dichotomy it presents and the challenges in bridging it.

Another challenge is when players try to bring about other games into Wikipedia than Wikpiedia’s own. Players try and transpose the games they have chosen to play IRL, into the Wikipedia project. That is why we have WP:BATTLE, the other side of WP:WRW. Just witness the ongoing political, scientific, religious, and other such disputes that have been developing over the last years (check WP:RFAR/C for a good sample), and the many efforts by the community to overcome these challenges. A notable point is that in almost every Wikipedia arbitration case (with some notable exceptions), the result is the imposition of restrictions to participate fully in the game … “in order to continue playing, you are now restricted from playing”, an obvious contradiction.

So, as long as there are editors that will do everything possible to keep the game going, and do that with such grace and diligence that does not result in restricting play, Wikipedia may have a chance. But if these editors that are intent in winning the game at the expense of keeping the playing going, become those that steer the project forward, then it may not. My opinion is that Wikipedia is at that cross-road.

The new Arbitration committee, which IMO has more diversity than ever before, as well as having people that I admire for the brilliance of their minds and the generosity of their hearts, may be the ones tasked to see this through, that is if they managed to bring the community around to support their efforts when exploring these challenges.

Per Carse, it boils down to choice If you have to play, you cannot play. It seems that those that want to win the game, are usually those that feel compelled to play it, and are those that play it too seriously for their own good. And those that want to keep the game going are usually those that edit with a smile on they face, enjoying the game, bringing new players to the game and expanding the possibility of play.

Excerpted from a SocialText whitepaper. Socialtext Workspace forms the foundation of a collaboration platform, which includes  wiki workspaces, a personal dashboard and integrated weblogs for ongoing collaborative conversations,  for powerful social networking in the Enterprise.

1. Get a rich picture of the people behind the work
The way work gets done is by people working with people, “bouncing ideas” off each other, tapping into each other’s expertise, leveraging each other’s knowledge and insights, re-purposing each other’s output. Any collaboration solution should give a rich picture of the people behind the work. It should connect people and give them a full picture of each other. When people have the context of the who, what, when, where and why of the others they are working with, it builds the level of trust they have in each other and results in greater teamwork and higher quality work.

2. Help people get to know each other
Profiles in the social collaboration solution should truly help people get to know each other, with content such as photos, background, experience, expertise, interests, links and stories. Profiles should reveal who the person is following so others can learn from their network, and what they’ve been working on most recently so others can learn what they’re up to.

3. Discover others who could be valuable
A great deal of the value of social networking comes from connections with all the people not directly involved together on a formal project, what sociologist Mark Granovetter calls the “strength of weak ties.” Until recently, collaboration solutions have focused on making “strong ties,” or active working relationships, efficient and effective. But it is “weak ties” that can unblock and accelerate group productivity. These connections offer new perspectives, ideas and insights. The collaboration solution should provide a variety of quick and easy ways to make associations and leverage weak ties to get work done faster and yield more informed and innovative outcomes.

4. Learn from observing others who are more skilled
We all get better at what we do by watching others who are more skilled. Someone who wants to be a great orator watches other great orators. People get better at their jobs by observing others. Any collaboration solution you consider should let users observe and learn from the people who can be valuable to them. As they watch the flow of useful content created, they also learn what’s important to the person, how they approach situations, how they prioritize and make decisions. People get to mentor others and increase their reputation simply as a byproduct of getting their work done. People get better at their jobs by observing others.

5. Keep up to date automatically
The collaboration solution should let people stay in touch with a large network of colleagues, allowing them to keep up to date automatically with that others are doing, working on, and producing. Every person should be able to keep the network informed of what they’re up to, simply as a byproduct of doing their work. For people working together directly on a project, the unproductive time team members spend today informing each other of what they are working on and their progress on those items should be virtually eliminated.

From Seth Godin’s blog:

Some of Godin’s buzzwords that made it into books (or the other way around…):

And his new book “Tribes”

Mass marketing created an angry, selfish beast, a hungry one, one that demanded to be fed. So marketers fed it, they fed it with any ads they could find. And when they couldn’t find ads, they spammed us. All in the name of commerce, all because they’re doing their job.

Things have changed, far more dramatically than most people realize. Not just what marketers buy, but what the media does all day, and what marketers build, and what we get paid to do and what and where we pay attention…

Elgg, is an open source social network engine providing out-of-the box functionality for deploying social-aware applications in education, business, non-profit and other environments.

Elgg runs on Apache, PHP and MySQL — the same open source platform that the majority of web applications are written in. Elgg is compatible with enterprise technologies like the Zend Platform and any server environment that can run the Apache web server.

Completely re-writen from scratch, Elgg 1.0 is lightweight, extensible, and easily customizable. The vibrant community of developers is producing new mods and themes that extend and expands the capabilities of the platform.

Presentation by Geoff Livingston.

Livingston asserts:

I just wonder if most companies will ever get it, that organizational social media really is about peering with their customers, partners and employees, rather than broadcasting a cleverly disguised ad or white paper in the form “user generated content” or a “blog post.”

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Josh Bernoff’s secret weapon: the “Social Technographics Ladder”, a technique presented in chapter 3 of Groundswell. Read more.