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The Social Media House Party: Understanding the Social Media Conversation

So, you want to dip your toes into the great big Social Media Community Pool, huh? But you’re still not entirely sure exactly what you need DO on Facebook, Twitter or Pinterest? If you’ve been trying to wrap your brain around the basics of what you can accomplish with each of the major social media platforms, here’s my House Party analogy that I use to explain each platform to clients.

House Party = The Social Media Conversation

People are talkin’. Things are happenin’. There is a major party on the Internet Block and you don’t want to miss out. But just like any house party, there are cliques and tribes and social norms. Enter the Social Media House Party with confidence with the following guide.

Facebook = The Kitchen

This is where the good food and booze can be found, as can much of the social conversation. People are showing each other cool photos on their phones, talking about articles and funny things they’ve seen on the internet this week, they’re saying Happy Birthday and Congrats on Your Wedding/New Child to one another.

With an estimated 1 billion active users as of October 2012, think of Facebook as the room where everyone hangs out for most of the night. Everybody needs to eat and drink at a party, right? The Kitchen (Facebook) is where it’s at.

Twitter = The Rest of the House

Conversations are happening all throughout the house. As you walk from room to room, you may hear snippets of conversations. In Twitter’s case, those snippets are just 140 characters long. In its purest form, the Twitter stream is a jumble of millions of conversations. Sometimes you will hear something amazing, stop, maybe listen to the conversation and jump in with your own thoughts before you float off to another group of people. Or maybe you’ll hear something completely out of context.

Averaging 340 million tweets per day, sometimes you feel as though your voice might be lost in the din of Twitter. But if you hang out in the right small groups and pay attention to conversations of interest to you, Twitter can totally rock the House Party.

YouTube = That Group of People Crowded Around the TV

YouTube has become the de facto standard in the social video conversation. Like the popular TV room at the House Party, everyone is sharing videos, leaving comments and uploading videos of their own. The sheer volume of video content is staggering: every 60 days, more video is uploaded to YouTube than the Big 3 TV networks have produced in the last 60 years.

If it’s been filmed, chances are, it’s already up on YouTube and the conversation has already begun, with or without you.

LinkedIn = That Group of People Who Can’t Stop Talking About Work

These are the networkers, the ladder types. They come to every House Party, no matter how casual, with a stack of business cards ready to hand out, an elevator pitch on the tip of their tongue. They even recently completely revamped their professional look to appeal to more people. The desperately want to fit in with the cool kids while still maintaining a sense of decorum and professionalism. They don’t really swear and may be tight-lipped about their personal work background and connections until they get to know you.

135 million LinkedIn users all networking and advancing their careers are nothing to scoff at.

Pinterest = That Group of Chatty Girls

Let’s face it. Pinterest, the fastest growing new social media platform – achieving 10.4 million users in just two and a half years – is mostly a group of women, chatting away in little pockets throughout the House Party. With an 80-90% female demographic of users (depending on who you talk to), women practically own and drive the conversations at Pinterest. They’re sharing recipes, shopping finds, fashion tips, home decorating ideas, craft projects and a whole lot more. And they can talk for hours about these things.

And brands have noticed too, because Pinterest users are not only more likely to engage in online shopping, but spend more than there Facebook and Twitter counterparts.

Google Plus = The Not-So-Popular Group Who’s Kind of Interesting Once You Get to Know Them

Google Plus is the newest social media kid on the block. They’ve been getting plenty of invites to House Parties, but sometimes folks just aren’t sure what to make of them. In many ways, Google Plus is the new kid just trying to fit into previously established social media norms. This group of people does have neat things to show off, like their group video chat via Google Hangouts.

Google claims that Google Plus has 100 million active users monthly, but sometimes, if you’re not in the right Circles, you just don’t hear those conversations happening at all.

So, if you think you’re ready to dive into social media, think about how you naturally interact at a House Party. Do you hover around the punchbowl or do you like to wander? Do you desperately want to get to know and join into that group of girls’ conversation over there? Or how about those folks swapping business cards?

Social media, like any good house party, can be an exciting experience for you and your brand once you understand just who all the key players and platforms are and which ones are right for you.


  1. Very helpful analogies! I’m going to use some of the rooms to pimp this post :-)