Lately, we’re been dabbling in ways to spruce up our Facebook Fanpage, adding photos, videos and polls (as of yesterday).
It’s been six months since we began experimenting in social media and three months since we made the decision to ditch our ailing Facebook Group in favour of Facebook’s fanpage format.
What’s been most interesting is the apparent development of several unexpected (yet welcome) mini ‘Tipping Points’.
While we have attempted to encourage Fanpage memberships (through links on our homepage and occasional Twitter references), the larger growth triggers influencing this sub-network within the Anthill community seem largely beyond our control.
Below I have posted a screen grab articulating the growth of Anthill Facebook Fanpage memberships since mid June.
What I find most remarkable about this chart is the evidence of unprompted small leaps in ‘fans’, namely around 10 July, 6 August and 8 September. In each of these instances, membership rose by approximately 60, 50 and 80 fans respectively.
Together, these 190 fans represent more than half of the full membership!
The expression ‘Tipping Point’ means different things to different people. However, thanks to Malcolm Gladwell’s highly influential book of the same name, it now usually means “the moment of critical mass, the threshold, the boiling point”. In his book, Gladwell identifies three main rules that he believes trigger a Tipping Point.
In particular, he talks about what he calls The Law of the Few, whereby he attributes “Connectors” (people with a special gift for bringing other people together), “Mavens” (people we rely upon to connect us with new information) and “Salesmen” (charismatic people with powerful negotiation skills) as having the most influence over whether a message or product will ‘tip’.
He also discusses The Power of Context and The Stickiness Factor.
In the case of Facebook fanpages, I suspect that a combination of these latter two factors are at play. And here is my untested, unresearched reason why.
While the addition of a super-influential new fanpage member might prompt other Facebook users to join, I suspect that, given the vast array of clever mechanisms Facebook uses to alert members of fellow member activities, Tipping Points in Facebook are more likely to occur when small pockets of members start to overlap.
Potential new members begin to see more than one Facebook friend refer to an Anthill article and, thereby, gain greater exposure to the Anthill brand, prompting their involvement. When this happens to enough people within a smaller sector or pocket of the broader Facebook community, it triggers a mini Tipping Point.
As a journalist, Arts/Law graduate with the numerical acumen of a blackboard duster, I have no way of properly testing these observations. However, I would be curious to hear of any other ‘learnings’ on the science of networks, particularly those that apply to new social media networks like Facebook.
Has anyone else noted similar trends?