I’m on record with several groups of people on what I think the next big thing in social media will be, and in my opinion the next “big” thing will be small.
I think people will grow weary of vast networks of “Friends” and “Connections” that aren’t really personal friends (Facebook) nor true business connections (LinkedIn), and seek out a place where they can create an ultra-closed network of ultra-close people they really care about and really do business with.
Several years back there was an advertising campaign for T-Mobile that promoted a feature called “myFavs” where users could choose five people to put into their calling network who they could connect with for free on any mobile network. It was a clever service at the time, and a clever concept ahead of its time.
Five is a good number
You have five fingers on each hand, so choosing five for your Personal network and five for your Business network makes the names easy to count-off on each finger.
- If you could only choose five people to keep in your Personal network — who would they be?
- If you could only choose five people to keep in your Business network — who would they be?
Think about your best friends and your best clients. It’s impossible to have 500, 1,000 or 10,000 best friends or clients. You do a disservice to both sides when posting generic items to the walls of general social network sites which adds little or no value to the personal relationships you have with your “Favs.”
When choosing members of this new network of friends and clients that you can count on two hands, a good rule of thumb (see what I did there?) might be selecting people on your list that you could walk up to on the street or in a boardroom and give a High-Five. It’s casually, celebratory act that is indicative of close friendship. Hey, there are worse ways to choose!
Before you tell me that Facebook has filters built into it that allow you to subdivide your network into “Family” and “Close Acquaintances” I ask that you also plan to defend their ease of use and Facebook’s constant reorganization of those categories and the security that (allegedly) goes with them.
This is one of those ideas that might be five days ahead of its time, or five years ahead of its time. But the concept isn’t out of reach to begin using just five minutes from now. Pick your five and start sending them private messages or individual emails or text messages with real information of value, trues notes of gratitude, and meaningful invitations to meet-up.
You’ll be ahead of the curve and the people you’re connecting with will give you a real thumbs-up.