Live from eTail: Online Visibility and Vampires

Washington—Do you know where to find the vampires in your state? You could find out online, says Steven Berlin Johnson, author of Everything Bad is Good For You. In his Aug. 7 session at the eTail conference titled “Exploring the Power of Collective Decision-making and the New Patterns of Adoption and Word of Mouth That Are Flourishing Online,” Johnson discussed the strength of social group formation thanks to the collective power of the Internet World.

For instance, Johnson said, with social networking sites such as Facebook, “you can see the power of collective decision making” because you can view all the choices people are making right on the Website. A news site such as Digg.com, which allows users to submit and vote on content, is an example of collective digital decision-makers determining what we’re interested in. The fact that the online community is making consumer groups and decisions visible supports the notion of the key influencer, Johnson said.

Another example of increased social group visibility: The community site Meetup.com helped organize nearly 65,000 special-interest group meetings just in July alone. The site’s number-one group is stay-at-home moms, according to Johnson, but it has groups devoted to Dungeons & Dragons, atheists, and vampires, among others.

In fact, Meetup.com can help you find all of the vampire meeting groups in the U.S., Johnson said, adding that these group members are not mere fans of vampires, “but people who self-identify as vampires.” Before the Internet, he noted, “it was hard for vampires to find other vampires.”

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