Researchers at Harvard have been analysing the reasons people are friending each other on social networks, presenting that those who share common interests in music and movies are most likely to be-friend each other. Similar book tastes, however, do not influence this decision whatsoever.
The study analysed and collected data from a group of college students (who self-reported for the experiment) over a course of four years. Focus was also placed around the power of influence: how Facebook friends impacted each others' preferences. It showed that the rub off of friends' preferences isn't a significant impact, as the group studied were not influenced by what their social group enjoyed and shared, except for classical or jazz music.
This throws up tricky questions, and intriguing conundrums. Does this all work in the way that we, and social marketing 'gurus' claim it to? Maybe not, as the findings show that peer recommendation doesn't really influence. User brand advocacy might just not be as strong as first thought. If this is the case, what would be the next steps in terms of influencing?