Link Quality

I’m sure many people are on top of this, but isn’t there a big difference between different kinds of links in the social network based on their quality?

I’m thinking about this because I’m gearing up on Google+, which features the idea of circles, discrete collections of contacts with different characteristics: friends, colleagues, running buddies, frenemies.  And a lot of the discussion in the service about circles revolves around what to do with low-quality links.

In finance, margin is a measure of the quality of a business’s income.  If it costs a lot of money to earn your revenue, it’s not as high-quality as higher-margin revenue.  High margins inhere to businesses that create differentiation.  Low margins are the h**l into which weak, aging, or commoditized businesses descend.

So with links.  We all have 80-20 rules with our link forests, where some few are priceless to us and most are almost worthless.  Should be a weighting in measuring social network influence or the like.  Probably someone is doing it already.

Thoughts?  Want an invite to Google+?

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2 comments on “Link Quality

  1. Anonymous says:

    Hi Dan,

    Some thoughts about links:

    1) Link quality varies tremendously depending on what you contribute, where you sit, the time, the need, the availability of the attention of those who could potentially respond, the size of the circle or group….

    2) Overall link quality rises when your online influence rises. What you say and how often you post has a direct impact on potential attention from people who might matter. But if the circle is small and no one is reading what you’re saying, then what you say obviously won’t matter. I think your habit of blogging and then posting a notice about the blog is a good one.

    3) The benefits of investing time in an online presence are most often intangible.

    4) You can’t really guess when a particular link might be valuable, as long as there’s some evident potential value and the link is not often resulting in irrelevance or utter annoyance. A link that generates persistent irrelevance or annoyance obviously not worth the trouble.

    5) Circles are an improvement, but reduce the potential for serendipity. Small, undistinguished circles are most often starved for attention and participation.

    7) The bottom line is that some links will eventually matter to you if what you post matters to someone else, if you’ve made it consistently easy for others to read what you post and if you pay attention and respond when people are trying to share something with you of value. Will things matter enough to see a real ROI? Scoble would say so, but that’s from his vantage point, a person whose impulse is to share a stream of thought and constantly engage online. He’s also someone whose thoughts people want to read. Without a sufficient level of passion, curiosity. a willingness to engage frequently, the online links won’t have value. It’s basically a question of trying to establish and nurture a living organism that survives only if you feed and protect it properly.

  2. Anonymous says:

    The general issue is that most people act on the “more is better” principle when it comes to LinkedIn, Twitter or Facebook. There are many people with thousands of “friends” in their networks—“friends” being everyone we have ever met, emailed or Skyped with, even if this communication just happened once and took place seven years ago. In other words, collecting links has become a competitive sport, where you feel prouder (professionally or privately) as your network grows bigger.

    This inflation of “friends” dilutes the quality of people’s connections, so that I might not bother asking for an introduction to someone I’d like to meet, because I suspect the links we have in common are of the above-described quality. This development robs social networks of a very important aspect: the ability to easily go beyond the closest circle of your friends and meet new people with similar interests.

    To my knowledge, there is no app out there that allows users to weigh LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter contacts. Trying to do this manually seems not to be effective, unless you can actually bring yourself to ignore or even deny “friend requests.” Most people seem to think it is rude to not accept all friend requests, even if it takes a few minutes to remember who the person requesting your online friendship actually is. This of course leads to your online contacts offering not much more value than all the business cards we collect over the year.

    So what could a solution look like? There could be an app that automatically rates your contacts based on the degree of interaction. Factors could be:
    a) Number of emails/messages exchanged
    b) Is this contact also a Skype, Facebook, etc. contact?
    c) Number of comments posted to the contact’s stream or profile
    d) Number of Facebook “likes”

    This is just a quick “top-of-my head” list of parameters to rate contacts by. The advantage of these specific parameters is that they could be collected automatically and are based on real actions, instead of on the user filling out a form. An app like this would allow people looking for an introduction to get a feel for how close you are with the contact in question.

    I wonder if someone will go out and build this app.

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