Insights Into The Social Mind


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Social business is dynamically changing the face of human interaction and communications globally. The
emergence of new social behaviors and interrelationships between individuals,
organizations, thought leaders and influencers are evolving in new and
previously unforeseen ways primarily because of social media networks and peer

A disruption is in the making, but this time, human behavior is the driver, not technology. People want and need to get the information
they need at the time they desire it, especially from those they consider to be experts.
We are returning to the “apple cart” of yesteryear. However, this time around we are armed with digital
devices to extend our global ability to talk with the companies and people who inform our

This paradigm shift is a major
communications innovation in all markets, which is radically changing the way
people and organizations engage and behave online. There is also a strong link
between social networking and what might be called “a new global anthropology”
that is developing because of these new behaviors, interactions and
interrelationships between cultures enabled through social business.

Over the past three years Don Bulmer, Peter Auditore and myself, all Society for New CommunicationsResearch fellows, have embarked on a series of research studies to understand
this new and evolving business platform
and its impact on social communications and influence.

The New Symbiosis of Professional Networks

The findings and predictions from our most notable study, the New Symbiosis of Professional Networks research
conducted three years ago, (2009), identified what we called a Social Media
Peer Group, (SMPG) this is essentially a Web 2.0 community of interest around a
specific topic and/or business in the course of this treatise we will refer to
them as Social Media Networks (SMNs).
SMNs, are not always groups of peers, but are enabled by the new social
media human computer interfaces and platforms that facilitate easier information
sharing and collaboration. And the second New Symbiosis of Professional
Networks study (2010) honed in on the changing role of the online influencer
and formatively noted the rise of the “crescendo effect” where content creation
and curation was being used as credibility builder in online environments.

The Social Mind

The Social Mind research project
was designed to explore and understand interrelationships of global
communications and how they impact the consumption of information across social
media channels and influence flow. Social Mind findings will enable B2B, B2P,
B2C or cause marketers to understand the importance and relevance of content –
and – its ultimate impact and influence on behaviors, beliefs, decisions and
actions. The Social Mind identifies key characteristics and insights into the
engagement behaviors of influencers and individuals, and how organizations can
maximize reach and influence to execute on what we call the new

Principals of Engagement in the

We surveyed more than 400 mostly
professional and highly educated people in North America who actively
participate in social media networks. And nearly 50% regularly create content
through blogging, the other half engage and share/create content in social media

Our findings show that social media networks have evolved
into trusted expert communities that are testing the trust that people have in
more traditional news and information sources. This is a huge shift in
information and influence flow as nearly 65% of the sample base indicated that
SMNs and professional networks are more trust worthy than traditional news and
information aggregators (again remember that these are highly educated

We found a
significant shift in information flow:

  • The role of the expert is rising in
    importance on the social sphere;
  • And the need for expert content is high among
    content consumers.
  • Journalists are no longer considered the sole
    authoritative sources, and traditional media is just a leader to let people
    know what they need to self-educate about on their own.
  • As an alternative to media-fed information, content consumers find greater value in
    curated content from experts in order to discover the information they need.

We found that professionals spend
approximately 40% of their time online interacting in peer -peer communities
closely followed by friends (31%) and then family at (13%.)

  • Twitter and blogs are equally important as the company or organizational website which ranked 2nd
    in importance to Twitter. This in contrast to research from just three years
    ago where a majority of respondents indicated that websites were the most
    important source for information, followed in close second by social media
  • Twitter emerged as the most
    important social network for professional interaction.
  • Facebook was “the friend network”
    where in-person friendships are reinforced and extended, virtually.
  • Email remained the preferred channel for family to interact


The Social Mind research study
clearly defines the characteristics and behavior of social media influencers
within social media networks that impact the brand, reputation and potentially
the sale of products. Organizations that are socially savvy will and are
recognizing the value and enhancements that can be derived in the areas of customer
service, CRM and customer experience through social media networks. This is
becoming a significant competitive advantage for many companies and
organizations as social business evolve and grow globally.

In the coming weeks, Don Bulmer,
Peter Auditore and I will blog about the research specifics. We will each take the topics that inform our work practices, and together, this blog-ring will offer our
perspectives on the outcomes and offer a platform for engagement. So please,
follow-on, ask hard questions and discuss with us your ideas about The Social
Mind. You can purchase the study here.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Vanessa DiMauro
Vanessa DiMauro is CEO of Leader Networks, a research and strategy consulting company that helps organizations succeed in social business and B2B online community building. DiMauro is a popular speaker, researcher and author. She has founded numerous online communities, and has developed award winning social business strategies for some of the most influential organizations in the world. Her work is frequently covered by leading publications such as the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal and Forbes.


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