Lately I increasingly find myself ignoring the 999 links to news items in my google reader in favour of items which have been tweeted about or I’ve seen FB updates about from friends and colleagues.
Effectively I’m subverting my own choices (after all I’ve set up the google reader feeds to my tastes) to my friends.
That’s quite interesting. I’ve spent some time trying to understand the psychology behind this and I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s the recommendation which makes all the difference.
News, while chosen by me (in terms of sources) doesn’t have any implicit recommendation and therefore I’m less inclined to trust it or be pulled to it. When it has an implied recommendation from someone who I have an interest in then it has an automatic draw.
The obvious next thing to consider is if complete strangers have a similar “pull” effect. We accept recommendations from complete strangers as a justifiable basis to (amongst other things) purchase goods (Amazon) and trust other people (eBay) so would it be a stretch to accept complete strangers recommendations?
Of course I’m aware that sites like Digg are doing exactly this, but their model is much more about aggregating opinion rather than giving recommendations (although recommendations are implied by the numbers)… I’m talking more about recommendations targeted at me the individual, or at the small group of people who follow me (or anyone)… e.g. a story/link posted in my twitter feed.
It feels like there’s a disruptive power in that which goes beyond the “number footprint” model of Digg or Del.icio.us and co…
Then again, perhaps I’m just waking up to something obvious to everyone for years… that’s entirely possible. There are days when I feel like the Rip VanWinkle of the Social Media world anyway so it would come as no surprise to be told that I’m just 10 years behind everyone else… :>
Maybe the answer is simpler. Perhaps I’m just “getting” social media… 😉