Posts Tagged ‘gaps’

What do we do online?

timsamoffHarvard Business School professor Mikolaj Jan Piskorski has spent years studying users of online communities and what needs these networks fulfil. His biggest surprise: people love looking at pictures and spend 70% of time viewing photos or other people’s profiles.  He finds that online social communities are also most effective when they are addressing failures in offline networks.  His example is the failure to  identify a person to help with a start up through friends and even friends of friends. When this strategy fails – LinkedIn fills the gap. There are gender differences, and  Pikorski finds that the biggest users are men looking at women they don’t know followed by men looking at women they do know. Again there is a fragility in the offline networks.

These findings may indicate that serious thought be given to what is missing in offline networks which may be driving the online ones.  What do you think? Does this research suggest that if we explore specific offline communities,  we may be able to identify gaps and translate them into popular services or applications in our social networking sites?