Online Social Hierachy

August 29, 2010

In days of yore, hierarchy (or “class” if you will) was a clear cut, easily defined item. Bourgeoisie and the proletariat, rich and poor, “well networked” and seclusive, most knowledgeable and most intellectually “challenged”, powerful and submissive were usually respectively synonymous.
Today, things are much more complex if you wish to divide individuals into “classes”, it could be argued that the breadth of “class” is greater than it has ever been, but also it is much more difficult to define. Is the person at the top of the hierarchy the person with the most economic might? The most intelligent professor? The individual with the greatest social influence? or perhaps those with the most political power?
Each of those categories are easy to define in terms of who holds the “upper hand”, but those that are at the top of each of those respective pyramids can be vastly different individuals.

Thats all well and good, but what does it have to do with online media? Well as we are more and more influenced by friends in our consumption of our media, those creating media need to find those at the top of the Social Hierarchical pyramid and leverage them. These individuals aren’t necessarily famous (although they might be, Vin Diesel, Aston Kutcher are good examples), but these are the people that cause people to gravitate around them, they are gifted with a natural sense of “sociableness”.

Utilizing the concept of “6 degrees of Kevin Bacon” comes into play here, as social networks lower our communication barrier and make us more connected, if you find those that are “most connected”, and influence them in such a manner that they are willing to organically share their experiences with your product/service/ability to operate a BBQ you will more effectively “touch” more people.

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