There’s a thought that has been going around in my head for a while. It started at #truLondon from a comment I made in a track and has been gaining momentum that I want to share with you to see what you think. The concept is really simple, if no one can see your content you can’t influence them in any shape or form. It doesn’t really matter if you have 50,000 followers, friends, fans or connections, if no one is interacting with your content, you become invisible to everyone. Looking at this channel by channel. LinkedIn have been up to lots of tricks recently. Firstly they moved updates from your profile to your home page, with a Facebook type stream that promotes what is trending. Trends are determined by shares, likes and comments on your updates. The best way to trend is to post your content to LinkedIn updates first, and share the LinkedIn update on Twitter and Facebook, because every interaction to a LinkedIn link counts towards your trending score, whatever the channel.
LinkedIn have also been quietly changing profiles to a new design. There is lots of great data on the new design, but a few features seem to be disappearing. For a start, I don’t see any blog links or WordPress apps on the new profiles. I also don’t see Slideshare (though as LinkedIn own them this may stay). There are lots of cool new features that show a bit more about you, like how you are connected and the make up of your network on the new profile, but the only update that is visible is the last one. The events section is disappearing mid November, so I’m expecting a few other things to drop out around the same time. The point of all this is that if you want to share an event with your network, then you are going to have to do it through an update. I think this is the driving force to get people posting updates, sharing and interacting. If you have new content, new posts, new events, etc., then it has to go through updates, part of the LinkedIn master plan to get us engaging in a channel that was becoming largely static. It wouldn’t surprise me to see the less active groups also getting removed. To get a new profile right now you have to ask for one, but it wouldn’t surprise me to see LinkedIn following the same path as Facebook did with timeline. Update in 3 months or else they will change it for you. Check out the new profiles and start thinking about how you are going to need to change yours.
On Facebook pages (personal and fan), you only see the updates you interact with. This is based on the Edgerank algorithm. Points awarded for comments, shares and likes in that order, that lose their value over time. Unless you subscribe to a feed (the least popular Facebook feature), you lose the updates from your stream if you don’t interact with the friend or page. This favors sponsored story’s as the most popular form of advertising on Facebook (ads are close to invisible on mobile), and also means that you need to be producing engaging content. No interaction, no visibility. I think this will be the biggest feature to drive the Facebook mobile app to enable likes and shares, as comments are only possible at the moment. Expect this change soon, now that Facebook updates are more than 60% mobile.
On twitter, what you see in your stream close to the top when you log in is sponsored posts, and those that you have interacted with in the past. Twitter shows you your closest friends first, as well as what is trending in your network. This is based on favorites, retweets, replies etc. It seems all the channels are favoring an Edgerank style ranking system.
On Goggle search, your results are greatly influenced by what you have responded to in the past by opening links, (which is why authorship on Google+ is so important). Preference is given to content that answers the search from authors you have liked before. Your social connections with the author also influences results, based on your relationship, and relationship is based on interactions. Yes, there will always be listings from people you don’t know, but people you do know and engage with will be showing higher up the rankings, because Google want to give you results that you trust, and that means people you know.
All of this points to one thing, if people are not engaging or interacting with your content, then it is going to become invisible. Forget SEO, forget huge followings, fan competitions to win an i-Pad if you like us and all that kind of thing, no interaction, no visibility. No visibility and no potential to influence, and this is only going to get more advanced in all the channels. Results are entirely dependent on interaction and engagement. Ditch your automated tweetadder followings, stop the gimmics for one off likes, become interactive and encourage interaction. Isn’t that the nirvana for social media? Engage or die!