Dear friends and followers, the eminent Brian Solis (@briansolis) recently posted an insightful and lengthy analysis of the difference between friends, fans and followers that you might find of interest.
From the blog post:
With every day that passes, brand managers are learning the value of presence in social networks. Depending on where in the world the company is based as well as the prevailing culture of the organization, dictates to what extent new media permeates its fabric. What’s clear however, is that brands are paying attention.
Social media and our understanding of its promise is raw. I’ve always believe that media and ensuing behavior is evolving faster than our ability to master. As such, it relegates us to an important, not menial role of student versus expert.
It starts with how we visualize the opportunity that lies before us in new media. Here we are, years after some of the earliest, successful experimentation with brands in networks such as Facebook, Twitter, and blogs. And yet, many of us still can’t see beyond the idea of trying to reach “an audience” of existing and potential consumers. While in general, there’s nothing wrong with earning an audience. The principle of my statement though, is rooted in the idea that an audience is comprised of people, people who in their own way, are each coming to the relationship with their own personal agenda. As such, we tend to view connections made in social networks quite literally as the 3F’s, friends, fans and followers. With such a narrow view of who we’re trying to reach and why, we limit our effect and value.
There is no one audience. It’s an audience of audiences with audiences and within each are varying roles of the social consumer.