Monday, December 3, 2007
Friends vs Fans
How can you have over 1000 Friends? If you did, how often would you talk to each and every one of your friends? How often would you see them? Send them a gift? Have dinner with them? What makes someone your friend vs a fan?
I think a little common sense goes a long way here but beyond that think about your brand vs you. Are you your brand or is your brand your brand and you are you?
If you are building a brand online your online "Friends" need to be treated as fans and feel free to get as many of them as possible. If you are building relationships to help grow your brand be careful about mixing your fans and your friends. It can come back to hurt you.
I hate it when someone I know in real life sends me a SPAM email about their project. "It feels very disingenuous and makes me want to "unfriend" them. I'm sure there are things that I've done and continue to do that rub people the wrong way as well but that's not going to stop me from talking about this.
Last night Chris Brogan (who I really enjoy hanging out with and drinking beers with at new media events - especially cause he's the one usually buying) twittered (or tweeted as some of you like to say) that he had posted over 10,000 times on Twitter. That got me thinking about how many of his postings were of any interest to me. The answer was very few and I removed Chris from my list of people that I follow on Twitter. Eric Rice then Twittered that he had Chris beat by a few hundred posts. I then thought about removing Eric but I realized that some of Eric's posts are informative to me because Eric likes to mix things up and create controversy. Eric also interacts with others way more than Chris. From what I see, Chris is usually Twitter Out" not "Twitter back and forth".
This morning I saw Susan Bratton twittered that she "just crested 1,000 FaceBook friends" and that prompted me to write this post.
Ask A Ninja is a Brand, and serves as a good case study for this. Associated with Ask A Ninja is Digital Filmaker, Beatbox Giant and the shows creators Kent Nichols and Douglas Sarine.
On Ning, they have their official Fan Page, with 4802 members (at the time of this posting)on Facebook they have a Ask A Ninja Page and Kent has a page and I don't know if Douglas has a page.
They have kept their fans separate from their friends.
Now comes the gray area. Sometimes as a content creator you will have fans within the Internet video community that want to be friends with you. This makes things very confusing. I think the best way to approach this is to set some standards for yourself and think about what works best for you. Don't just click the "accept" button thinking the more friends you have the more money you will make because in the real world, the more "friends" you have the more you will dilute your relationships. However online the more "fans" you have the more money you have the potential to make.
All that said I'm sure Chris Brogan will still buy me beers because he's that nice of guy but my point here isn't really to ridicule anyone it's to have us all focus on the real power of the social networks and how we can best use them to grow our brands and monetize Internet Video not just have the most posts.
Remember, "Fame without fortune turns you into Joey Buttafocco." and you can't pay your rent with Twitter posts.
I think Chris Pirillo explains the "friends thing" pretty well in the above video and he also talks about how sites not sharing revenue "cheeses" him off.
Lower your head, watch your step and enjoy the rest of your day on the Internet.