Understanding The Distinctions Between Social Communities

I’ve been thinking about and playing with Linkedin a good deal this week, which has made me reflect on the different nature of the my relationships across the three major community-oriented social sites that I use most frequently – ie Facebook, Twitter and Linkedin.

Whilst we’ve written previously about the clear demographic distinctions between social communities, I refer instead and specifically to the difference in terms of community size, which is closely aligned to the strength/weakness of one’s relationship with a contact.

Of them, Linkedin was the first if the three that I used, habit first set up an account back when FriendsReunited was first around. I distinctly remember a short but intens love affair with Facebook and then, similarly with Twitter. Of the three, it is primarily Twitter that has endured for me – not least because syncing the profiles means that a Twitter client is a means of managing all three now – along with various others of course.

Over the course of the last six months I’ve made a concerted effort with Linkedin, driving my contact numbers up to around 400 at the time of writing. So, purely coincidentally, both my Twitter and Linkedin communities number around 400 at present (with Facebook closer to 200), of which there’s a fair crossover, obviously.

The interesting point though is that whilst 400 seems to represent a good deal of contacts on Linkedin by most people’s standards, it’s barely a starting point on Twitter by comparison to many follower-bases.

Clearly there’s a significantly different relationship between many Twitter users and the typical Linkedin contact – which is obvious really.

What’s most exciting about this though is that once a decent community had been created on Linkedin, the strength of the relationship counts for something, with linkedin contacts apparently more willing to help out with genuine commercial needs – as the above link demonstrated happened this week.

So, hopefully all this means that my community-building efforts with Linkedin have been worthwhile. Also, whilst I’ve learned a little more about the arm’s-length nature of the relationship with my Twitter community by comparison, that doesn’t change its effectiveness as an alternative to email in many regards and it’s still the focal point of much of my social output.