From Online Ghetto (4chan) to Civilised Communities (Facebook)

Lately, I have been doing a bit of discourse analysis (looking at the conversations that take place) for brands in social environments. One thing I have noticed is the quality of insights is dependent on the channel alot of the times.

I believe that there are two traits that affect how civilized a community will be online, the opportunity to be anonymous and the chance of offline interaction.

We expect brands to act civilized all the time and I think that they can struggle with having valuable conversations when consumers are not playing by the same rules.

Brand guardians must remember that further down the path of uncivilized communities the value of peoples opinion and feedback becomes less reliable because people are not accountable to their words.


Clare Lancaster said...

Good point. Well presented.

Anonymous said...

I reckon brands can engage and get meaning anywhere, they just need to speak the language. Engaging 4Chan would be like Marie Antoinette doing a listening tour of the Paris slums. There'd be insight there, but sending the Queen out wouldn't be the way to go about getting it.

Anonymous said...

Nail firmly hit on head. Agree.

Anonymity has benefits, but accountability brings credibility.

Zac Martin said...

Love the diagram, love the caption even more.

Jye Smith said...

Love it - great post Ju.

Gavin Heaton said...

So, a question ... where does influence sit on this map of our social networks? Does it run horizontally or does it cut through as a vertical?

Julian Cole said...

I usually see influence in terms of the individuals behind the channel rather than the channel itself.

However if you were looking at the community at large behind these channels you would have to say that 4chan has been very influential on online culture. However when you start going to a channel like Twitter/Myspace/Facebook there is so many community within these channel so the point kind of falls down.

I think that influence is related to trust and trust is built through knowledge of the individual/who the advice/words are coming from.

So the more that you know about the person, the more you are likely to trust them and be influenced by them. Alright, this might require another graph and some thinking time! :)

Anonymous said...

I like this Jules.
Boss flow chat business, too.
That's all I've got to say.

Stephen Downes said...

This is very well argued and presented, Julian. I think some brands can be less civilised than others but have questioned on my blog the automatic assumption that "all brands whould be on Twitter" (for example).

Kate Richardson said...

Great post Jules, and like your thinking with the diagram.

I would also say that the other thing that affects how civilised we are online is our humanness.

Communities are not bastions of righteousness and combine all the happiness and ugliness that we face in the offline world.