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How valuable is a friend?

October 21 2011 | Strategy, Activism, Culture Shifting, DIY Activism, Modern Activism,

There is an ongoing dialog regarding the value of a friend on Facebook and other networks. It's an important dialog and certainly not the first time similar questions have been asked. In fact most disruptive technologies have spurred on similar discussions.

There tends to be an immediate dismissal about most new things… perhaps all new things.

"Why would I need an iphone when I already have a phone?"

We can replace “iphone” in that sentence with any innovation and ask that exact same question.

"Why do I need Facebook when I already have friends?"

"Why do I need a television when I already have a newspaper?"

"Why do I need a car when I already have a horse?"

It’s usually not immediately apparent to people why something new offers them net new value. This is the case because the capabilities didn’t exist prior.

In my opinion the label “friend” on Facebook is irrelevant. Labels like that one are designed to help bridge us to understand something that didn’t exist before. The early TV programs were essentially live plays which were broadcast, electronic mail was called e-mail because it offered a way for people to understand a new way of sending messages, the early composite surfboards still had stringers painted on them, etc.

In the case of a new network, what matters is how many people are on that network and how personally people are connected to it. The first telephone didn’t offer much value but the last telephone offered amazing utility because there are billions of phones that are on the network.

At last count the number of people on Facebook was 800 million. For some context, there are only 300 million people in the United States. More than half of the 800 million total users are estimated to be online, live on the network, in the same day.

Facebook matters because it offers such a serious tool we can point at our mission of coastal conservation.

Specific to Surfrider, in the last 30 days 131,832 people have interacted with Surfrider’s page.

That is a lot.

That is unprecedented.

This is of particular value to Surfrider Foundation's network as it complements our chapter network in local regions around the world. Think of it as a feeder-system, think of it as a network expansion.

I think of it as a mission amplifier.

I encourage you to join the Surfrider dialog happening on evolving networks. Find out what is happening, hear about campaigns that need your help and even learn about a party in your area. Surfrider, like Facebook, believes that in order for a bond to be deep there needs to be more than work… social gatherings matter.

Plug in.

We will continue to leverage networks like Facebook and others networks like Twitter and LinkedIn for one reason. It’s the same reason we do anything here at Surfrider Foundation.

For the protection and enjoyment of oceans, waves and beaches.

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