The first point of chapter 10 in Engage! by Brian Solis is all about social objects within social media. So, what exactly is the definition for social objects? Solis said that, “Essentially, social objects in social networks take the form of content or media and can induce responses in each network” (Solis, 71). Solis goes on to say that “…social objects therefore represent the epicenter for distributed micronetworks that are formed within larger, established social networks, yet connected by interests” (Solis, 71-72). What this means is that public’s interests serve as the force behind how successful social objects are. These interests can lead to individual, emotional attachments which affect any relationships that are made through connections related to those interests (Solis, 72-73). Every time a person comments on a photo on Facebook or a video on Youtube, they are participating in this phenomenon and they then become part of a conversation that may extend to the backchannel.
According to Solis, the backchannel represents any communication that takes shape outside public view (this can include in-network messaging, email and offline events) (Solis, 72-73). This outside connection leads to the in-depth development of an individual’s views on a certain social object (which is critical for businesses’ social objects). That is because, as Solis put it, “Forging relationships before the introduction of social objects, reinforced by interaction and recognition, serve as the foundation for the introduction, adoption, and distribution of relevant social objects” (Solis, 73).
The backchannel does have its limits and many people tend to overuse this tool to the point that it is no longer effective (Solis, 73). I really enjoyed the “definition of purpose” that Solis gave to the backchannel. He wrote, “It’s about awareness trumping promotion, social alliances, not socialism, and collaboration over hierarchy” (Solis, 73). In order to really have great, effective social objects and successful relationships through the backchannel, companies really need to keep this in mind.