3 Theories That Can Make You Rich! (Part 2)
A recent report by the “Fiscal Times” outlined some of the most stupid, crazy and downright dumb college classes currently on the curriculum of colleges throughout the nation. Offerings ranging from “Lady Gaga 101″ (courtesy of the University of South Carolina) to “The Phallus” (via Occidental College) leave parents and professionals contemplating the relevance (and cost) of many college degrees. If even the mention of the word “theory” leaves you feeling out of sorts, don’t despair! As a social media management firm, our focus is always on information with real world relevance. Information that makes sense. Information that can actually make you rich! Today is part two of this series on “3 Theories that Can Make You Rich” so be sure to take a look at yesterday’s article if you happened to miss it.
Do theories alone suffice? Of course not. Although we support the pursuit of higher education, it is important to remember that real life experience is often equally important when it comes to getting real results; especially in a field as new and volatile as social media marketing. On the other hand, there is a lot to be learned from the research of others.
Today’s theory concerns Exponential Decay, yet another relatively obscure and unknown theory with profound implications for the practice of social media. Before we get into the who, what, where and why it may be beneficial to provide a short synopsis of the major points of the theory itself. For those that are acquainted with the theory, feel free to skip ahead.
So, what is Exponential Decay? In a nutshell, it is a physics theory which states the level of radioactive decay among elements breaks down in a routine fashion. More specifically, certain elements emit subatomic particles with a measurable half-life that tends to decrease or break-down over time. The rate of decay remains steady providing scientists a way to track the original lifespan of an item backwards in time. This is the foundation knowledge behind science such as carbon dating, geology and measuring of human remains. Fascinating stuff that has allowed immense scientific progress in recent decades but not exactly the realm of computing…or is it?
How Exponential Decay Applies to Social Media
Savvy readers may be thinking we are really “out there” this time…what on earth could carbon dating technology and social media marketing have in common? Admitted, the connection doesn’t exactly hit you over the head but that makes this all the more interesting. It’s not the actual technological process that we are interested in but rather the theory of Exponential Decay itself. You see, soon after this discovery was made, scientists began to realize the entire universe seems to have its very own rhythm and corresponding measurement. In fact, nearly everything seems to decompose or deteriorate over time…often in very recognizable and measurable patterns.
Now, as a social media marketing firm, we are constantly in competition against time. The ability to properly time an entire campaign or a single message is able to increase viewership and response rates exponentially resulting in maximum ROI and minimized cost. But there is another time related concern of equal importance; the “half-life” of a message, campaign or other form of communication. In the early days of the Internet, websites were more or less static; the information was added but rarely deleted. Over time it became apparent this was an ongoing problem; how to discern the reliability of information which could be out of date. With the advent of social media marketing and management, a similar but much more insipid problem arose; how to measure and track effectiveness in an ever-increasingly competitive environment. The half life of social media content has taken things to an entirely new level with Twitter messages reaching their half-life in a matter of minutes. Facebook might buy a few hours and Pinterest/others falling somewhere in between. Surprisingly, the rate of response as well as visibility and remaining activity level is surprisingly consistent with the Exponential Decay theory borrowed from physics except in this instance; measurements aren’t taking place over thousands of years but rather days, hours and minutes. Instead of radioactive substances being responsible for the breakdown of matter, a combination of algorithm adjustments and social sharing are responsible for rate of longevity or decay. Instead of measuring how many original elemental atoms remain, social media scientists are able to view the residual value of a message long after the peak viewing takes place. So, what are the potential implications for social media marketing?
1. Recognize the fact that every social media message will have a peak point and a corresponding rate of decay. It’s possible to analyze the impact of any given message at both the height of response as well as the long term residual effect.
2. Timing is everything! The same way that it is possible to observe, describe and predict all types of natural phenomena due to the Exponential Decay, it is equally possible to perform similar analytics on content creation, impact and rate of decay. In much the same way that different elements decay at different rates, each industry and type of message will have its own “average” lifespan by which it is possible to make increasingly accurate measurements and forecasts.
3. Forensic analysis of both good and bad social media campaigns is able to generate important information. Don’t neglect performing due diligence on a bad campaign…or better yet, simply seek out the proper professionals to do it for you! Not only does it save time and money over the long run but helps avoid unpleasant surprises.
Last but not least, be sure to tune-in tomorrow for the third installment of 3 Theories that can make you rich!