Twitter connects you to the world in a way that no other current tool can replicate or do better. This image to the right developed by Valdis Krebs can show you what I mean.
You, in this scenario, are the red dot with the surrounding Twitterverse made up of thousands of mini-communities of tight friends. If you have such a small and tight group of real friends, Twitter can enable you reach out to the whole system – it’s the old six degrees of separation. There is always a path out and back via trusted people to any point in the totality. Here, in a post of mine from October, is a further series of views of how having a tight inner group for you gives you access and power in the wider world – here we can see even how terrorist groups use this principle.
This tight small group is the launch pad for the power of Twitter.
More evidence of the power of this small launch group in a recent report on group size on First Monday by Bernardo Huberman, Daniel Romero and Fang Wu called “Social Networks that Matter – Twitter under ther Microscope”:
In conclusion, even when using a very weak definition of “friend” (i.e., anyone who a user has directed a post to at least twice) we find that Twitter users have a very small number of friends compared to the number of followers and followees they declare. This implies the existence of two different networks: a very dense one made up of followers and followees, and a sparser and simpler network of actual friends. The latter proves to be a more influential network in driving Twitter usage since users with many actual friends tend to post more updates than users with few actual friends. On the other hand, users with many followers or followees post updates more infrequently than those with few followers or followees.
If you have created such a group, if you ask a good question you will get a timely answer or if you search for something you will find it. It means that if you wish to influence the wider world or find out what is happening – you can for a tiny investment.
So what does this mean in practice?
- The starting point – your group – From a personal point of view, it means that you will both expand and increase the health of your own personal network – the people that you groom and who groom you. It’s silly really but sharing small details of our lives, Social Grooming, enables us to get a feel for people that we like and who like us. Here is Dave Winer’s Group see how small it is but also how focused.
- The Starting Process – being caring and helpful (Doc Searls) – Grooming – It’s this process of talking in public that reveals over time who we are. By responding, say to someone having a bad day – a sick kid – whatever – by getting an answer to a question – trust and affection build. With Trust and Affection you create the pathway to the Twitterverse. How big need this group be? Intuitively some people think that it should be about 100 (Stowe Boyd & Valdis Krebs). But the group may be smaller – 35/80 if the laws of nature (Fibonacci) apply. The point is that your “Investment” in your gateway to the wider world is relatively small. Twitter provides a huge ROI.
- Market Research & Intelligence
See how business and even government are finding value in Twitter. See how for a tiny investment you can find out immediately what people think of what you are doing. See how you can find out immediately what people think of you or of a competitor. See how you can see trends as they start. See how you can do this for almost no money.
- Organizational Cohesion and Effectiveness in Traditional and in Distributed Organizations
See how such a small tool can infect a traditional organizational culture and start a move to being more democratic. See how Twitter might be the best way to make the big changes that we all need. See how information can move up and down your organization and see how trust can be restored as well. See how Twitter can give you a better chance of achieving this than any other intervention.
- News and Media
What will you and what will Media Organizations get from Twitter? See how your view of the world is enhanced by using Twitter. See how Twitter is becoming the way to cover breaking news. See how it may be the new AP of our time. See how Twitter can give your show or station a connection with your audience that will help you break through the noise of a media universe of infinite content. See how Twitter is closing the gap between the news organization and the people.
Want to know how it works on a more technical and a more personal basis? Head here: What is Twitter – How it affects you
And for the rest of the guide: