Category Archives: social media strategy

Keeping in Touch

After Julie’s Learner Lecture on Dunbar’s number, the subject has been on my mind for quite a bit. In particular the part about how people are replaced by others when ties are weakened. As a person who takes friendship very seriously and prefers small, extremely tight friend groups to meeting a lot of acquaintances, it pains me to think that every time I talk to a friend, I am possibly compromising the time and relationship I have with another person. As a graduating senior, I have heard from friends that have graduated about the loneliness of being an introvert working adult fresh out of school. It’s true – when you don’t see your friends every day like you do in school, ties weaken and relationships change.

Unconsciously, I have been reacting to Dunbar’s number all this while. At the end of summer, I told myself that for the next year, I will only keep relationships that count. I will only meet new people and make new friends if they are introduced by close friends and have the potential to develop into long lasting relationships, knowing subconsciously that I do not have the social capacity to ‘deal with that many people’. So far, I believe my techniques have been fairly successful. I see the friends I truly care about at school nearly everyday, and have made a handful of new friends whom I consider to have entered my ‘close circle’ (probably in the process displacing some others). Even though as someone who has been working for years and who will be entering the workforce full time soon, I am always told that I need to network, but I think my time in a Japanese company has taught me one very important thing about relationships: it takes time.

Whether it’s a professional relationship or friendship, in order for it to become a close tie, it takes time. And we are talking about years. I once worked for a Bay Area start-up that wanted me to liason with an ancient big-name Japanese company for them. I spoke to the Japanese company which was amicable and told the start-up that if we continued the friendly relationship between the two companies and in time prove that the start-up is trustworthy and profitable, we would be able to move towards the next step. The start-up refused because ‘start-ups have no time for such things’. I eventually left the start-up and found out that their deal with the Japanese company fell through and now they have retracted completely from the Japanese market despite a hopeful start.

It also takes regular maintenance, as Dunbar’s number has pointed out (although not in the sense of a physical interaction). That’s the reason why all Japanese companies send out New Year cards to their partners, VIP customers and investors annually – not to appeal to them in case they come in useful in the future, but to thank them for keeping a relationship and in some cases, to show that ‘they care’. (This is probably also the case with Christmas cards here/in UK, even though I don’t know how many people still religiously keep up the practice)

In a very similar sense, I believe that managing social media is the same thing. Everyone has a ‘Dunbar’s number’ for how many social media sources or how much online information they can consume. This is why successful social media accounts not only post regularly, but also post good content, because you have to maintain the relationship with your followers, or you will eventually get replaced by another source.

I digress. As I gear up to leave school, I will always remind myself of the kind of friend and person that I want to be. I want to value quality over quantity, and I want to be a person that truly treasures each of my relationships, instead of having many that can ‘advance my career’. I don’t believe in aggressively seeking forging relationships for the sake of moving upwards. This is perhaps a difference in mindset with many people, but I think of it as analogical to a newbie blogger – if you keep at what you do, and value that people that follow you and read your blog, eventually something good will come out of it. So far, this has proven to be a good mantra for me, and I think I will bookmark this post so that I can always go back to it if I ever do lose myself.

Wikia

Chances are if you are into some sort of video game, anime/manga or TV show, you’ve been on a Wikia community before. Originally a spin-off of Wikipedia, Wikia now functions as an independent company and is a formidable growing community platform for fandoms that influence decision-making within each of the industries that Wikia engages with – which is a lot.

The front page has some stats on the website. Well, talk about impressive!

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My encounters with Wikia previously were mostly restricted to landing on one of the Wikia communities after Googling the name of some obscure character in some TV show whose back story I had forgotten after abandoning the show for a few months. I knew that the content was generated by fans, so they were most likely accurate. What I didn’t know was the scale and the business model that Wikia runs on.

At the 2014 New Context Conference in San Francisco, I learned about Wikia during a pitch by CEO Craig Palmer, and it made so much sense that I became a fan of the company right there (even though I still don’t use Wikia as a contributor). It became as just a Wikipedia-like platform for fans to organize and curate information about their favorite things. However, over time, Wikia had developed strong communities that have even become ‘official communities’ recognized or endorsed by the companies that produce some of these ‘things’ that people are crazy about including games and dramas. What I liked best was how Wikia involves its Superfans (the tribal leaders within this collaborative intelligence ecosystem)

They have selected (or accepted applications in some cases) for Wikia stars who get to be the ‘leader’ of their respective Wikia communities. It is like the equivalent of earning a recognition or certification of ‘I’m your Number 1 Fan’. Wikia basically harnesses the power and potential of fandom.

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Superfans are not just leaders in creating and curating content on the site. Sometimes they are even involved in the planning stages for the next big thing from the companies whose products they are fans of. With Wikia, the gap between industry and fandom has been brought closer together.

According to Palmer, Wikia believes that in order for a company to successfully interact and engage with superfans, they have to let go and give the fans:

– acknowledgement
– honesty
– trust
– attention
– authencity
– swag
–¬†somehow create an ‘insider feeling’

The fact that something like Wikia even exists and runs on such an interesting business model is just absolutely fascinating for me (so fascinating that I’m doing a Learner Lecture on it even though I just wrote this). Thanks to this talk I saw a lot of new possibilities within my own line of work as well. Wikia rocks!