Many people don’t know what a social graph is and remain unaware of the massive impact it has on their lives and the messages they are receiving whilst online. The Social Graph was a term first used by Mark Zuckerberg, at the f8 conference in 2007. Your social graph is a digital map of your personal identity, your primary Facebook friends and everything you share with them, as described by Social Media Examiner. Social Graphs are generated for each social platform, obviously it was started by Facebook, but people and businesses saw that they could also produce a social graph for other social platforms, eg Twitter and LinkedIn. What Jesus’ social graph would look like.
However in 2010 he started talking more about an open graph, which takes into account every link you’ve made on any social media site, and as it is facebook who have come up with this idea to intergrate everyones social media connections it will of course be run through Facebook. Open Graph Example. The graph example may just show the links between a person and the social media tools they use, but from each of those visualise the connections you’ve made on those platforms, and you can get the ide of what an open graph looks like. In theory an Open Graph is just an overlapping of your different Social Graphs.
So, how does the information shown on our social and open graphs affect us as people and as consumers? Well the importance of this information lies in the data itself and how it works as a system. Each connection is mapped through The Facebook API, which is a digital handshake that connects your Facebook identity, connections and content with Facebook pages and outside websites and blogs. Which we all know by its more popular term, The Like Button. Now as we begin to learn what information these graphs hold do we begin to realise the power of this information when its available publicly. Businesses will be able to view the people who “like” their facebook page who else they like what other brands the like, what social platforms they use, what platforms they make the most connections in etc. This gives Business Marketers a wealth of informaton to use and exploit, as well as people to exploit, for we can never underestimate the power of peer influence. This shows that a minority of the internet community do the majority of influential activities. This means that by targeting this small group of super active participants and communicating their message to them effectively they can almost leave it to them to convert the rest.
However, some may argue that system will provide marketers with more problems than it solves. The first major hiccup when this model was introduced was of course the intense questioning on privacy, as i think we can all agree this ease of availabilty of personal information counts as a pretty major invasion of privacy. Another aspect of these graphs that can be called into question is the reliability of the information produced when used for marketing. These graphs can only tell people who we know, which doesnt always necessarily translate into who we like. This may mean it will become more effective to use interest graphs (generated by the feeds customers follow (e.g. on Twitter), products they buy (e.g. on Amazon) in conjuction with the social graphs to get a greater overview of the publics buying and social habits. So maybe in the future we’ll see someone working to intergrate these two types of graph.