Social networks contextualised

I’ve been wanting to do a post about contextualising social networks for ages; anyone who’s read my previous posts will know I believe each channel offers different possibilities and potential when used individually. Integration can be like crossing the proton pack streams; either epic or catastrophic.

To use a crass anecdote; at sixth form circa 2006, there was nothing unusual about adding random females people on Myspace, but it seemed uncomfortable doing the same on Facebook.

Why? Think about it.

Weighting different social channels seems logical at first, but when you look deeper; and I mean really deep, it becomes a far more complex proposition; you have to take into account social, network, collective behaviour, instinct  and conditioned response theories to name but a few.

Luckily for you I’m not going to do that; instead I’m going to start by comprehending some of the social channels as characters you’re likely to encounter on a night out.


A girl who’s seductive and standing at the bar winking. Certainly an intriguing proposition, one that’s offering a lot of potential but she seems unlike anything I’m used to or  I’ve ever encountered before. Because of this I’m unsure of how to approach, and not entirely confident of the appropriate etiquette. I move on, intending to give this some more thought.


The guy in the smoking area who’s drunk and ravelling. Whilst some of  what he’s saying is relevant and coherent, much of the articulation is of no consequence. Luckily I’m a little sober, so I filter what I want to hear, and quickly leave.


Back inside and you spot her; the older girl from school trying to re-kindle the days of her youth. Despite a new look since our last encounter she’s messily drunk and all over the place with a somewhat fragmented appearance. She’s dancing near the DJ and seems more concerned with the music than anything else.


Inevitable she’d make an appearance; ‘the ex girlfriend’. She’s popular, everyone knows who she is  and she connects me to a whole load of people from the past. We converse at length, vicariously catching up about her and old friends, but I walk away within minutes as she’s just an archive of old times, friends and memories.


A group of girls, they’re cool; they don’t accessorize and we share stories back and forth. They’re pretty chilled and accessible. Because they’re in big group, they seem well connected, and I warm to them as they introduce me to even more people. Although one freaked me out a bit as she followed me to the toilet so I decided not to acknowledge her…


My mate who’s had a little too much to drink. Well that’s an understatement; he’s doesn’t even know what day of the week it is. This presents an opportunity and we decide draw on him and ‘re-design’ his outfit. Although our options are limited in the club, we plan to leave soon, perhaps going home or to take him elsewhere for some real customisation…


The barman who’s using his superficial acrobatic skills to pour drinks. We watch at he juggles 3 pint glasses, whilst moonwalking with a smugger than smug face. Finally he embarks on what he’s made an arduous task and just fills the glasses. He’s trying to be better than the norm by overcomplicating something straightforward with pointless theatrics, when all I want is a drink. Why trivialise a simple process?


The prodigal guy returning from a gap-year . The conversation is one-way with him broadcasting and listing every single place he went, and how he’ll update me more when he goes again next year. I don’t care and make my escape.


She sounds foreign and exotic but also seems unique and intriguing. Additonally… result…I can take her with me…


2 thoughts on “Social networks contextualised

  1. Excellent!

    As you know, at the factory we try and explain this to clients in a business context e.g. Linked In is like a professional networking event but Facebook is you and a few friends enjoying some private time.

    All social media is social but if you have this kind of framework it gives you clues on how to behave when you’re there and if you’re an outside organisation it gives you an idea of how you might be able to be useful to people in these environments.

  2. Cheers mate.

    Yep; what’s even more interesting to think about is the cross over appeal of the different networks, and using them more strategically.

    I’m all for frameworks; especially ones that people can relate to!


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