Like Countries, Social Networks Come With Their Own Cultures

Posted: June 21, 2011 in social media
Tags: , , ,

When I was in university, my international business courses equipped me with the skills I’d need to market a product or service across countries. There can be so many ins and outs, laws, rules, regulations and the likes that it can take time to build up your lay of the land before being ready to engage in commerce in another country. By far the most interesting, and most important aspect, that I found came in terms of a country’s culture. If a word was translated incorrectly or a cultural reference not picked up, it could embarrass a company trying to break into a new market. If you weren’t familiar with cultural customs and norms, deals were likely to not go your way.

Many of today’s social networks have been likened to some of the world’s largest countries. If, for example, Facebook were a country, it would have ranked 3rd highest in terms of population in 2010. When it comes to a social network, it’s not just the company that created it that you are engaging, it’s the community that’s built itself around it. And beyond the Terms of Service, the community has made its own unwritten code of conduct. There are nuances in every culture that you just won’t find unless you immerse yourself in it. You’ll find the same with social networks.

So do yourself a favour. If there’s a social network you’re aiming to target, take the time to investigate it. Talk to the locals (members). Find out what flies and what doesn’t. They’ll appreciate the time you took and you’ll save yourself from making any obvious blunders.

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