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Strategic insights
The Social Movement

Written by on January 18, 2009

Earlier today I posted an article about how you should use the social movement to your advantage (instead of just running a campaign). Tapping into the power of people is simply more effective than any other means of communications.

One very good example of this is the recently created "fan page" for Captain C.B. Sully Sullenberger, the captain of the Airbus plan that crash-landed in the Hudson River in New York (earlier this week).

It was created less than two days ago, and got 30,000 fans within the first 12 hours, but now it has reached staggering 305,469 fans (and it is growing by a thousand every minute). In comparison with e.g. Hillary Clinton's Facebook page, which only has 186,430 supporters.

(Actually, it grew by 13,000 fans during the time it took me to write and publish this article)

What we are seeing is a combination of the voice of the people (which is a force that has always been present), combined with the ease of being able to communicate to a global audience.

This was not possible 3 years, because back then we had no effective way to combined our voices and spread the message on a global scale.

Tapping into this power is the single most important change that you need to adapt to.

The 4 segments of the social movement

It is, however, important to remember that there are 4 unique social movements at work on the web. There is:

  1. Social "Fan" Pages, of which Facebook Pages is by far the most dominant one. These are "fan sites" on social networks, not link to an individual's personal profile, but is a shared page. The fan page if Captain C.B. Sully Sullenberger is a great example of this. So is Obama's facebook "fan" page.;
  2. People social identity pages, which is people personal spaces in the social networks. Again Facebook is a very dominant force, but so people's Flickr profile, Vimeo profile, YouTube profile etc.
  3. Social Bookmarking sites, of which Stumbleupon is the most dominant force. Places where people can share what they find interesting things they find around the net.
  4. The long tail of blogs, twitter profiles and other personal spaces where they share their opinion with the world.

All of these are equal in size and impact (more or less), but the way they work is very different.

  1. The social fan pages usually work by the spur of the moment, and grow to incredible heights in a very short time. Only to find that the traffic dies down a short time afterwards. BTW: The fan pages that are not made in the spur of the moment will often experience a very slow growth that is almost unnoticeable.
  2. People's personal profiles will usually live a mediocre existence, but over an extremely long time.
  3. Social bookmarking sites will generate a lot of attention, but only for about a week. This is the average time it takes for a bookmark to move from page one to page two on people's profile.
  4. Blogs and twitter sites usually grow organically over a much longer period of time, and the traffic stays at a high level for a much longer time.

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Thomas Baekdal

Thomas Baekdal

Founder of Baekdal, author, writer, strategic consultant, and new media advocate.


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