For quite a while now I’ve been working in social media. Having being in a band capitalizing on the MySpace craze, signing up to the Bebo fail and now working for a social listening software company. In my early phases of understanding social media, I was still a student, pretending to be interested in a Politics and International Relations degree.

From time to time I think back to what I can remember from my degree and about how it can map back to social media, here’s what I found.

Political Realism

Definition: ‘the theory asserts that politicians do, or should, strive to maximize their power, whilst on the international stage, nation states are seen as the primary agents that maximize, or ought to maximize, their power.
Social Media Correlation: Influencers.

I would consider successful Bloggers with large fan-bases as the closest link. Bloggers are usually considered ‘experts’ within a particular field, although this is normally the case when the size of fan-base validates their position. Opinions, if agreed with, are then shared via other media types like Twitter, which spread the initiator’s thoughts. Like an addict, this could drive the Blogger to want to share more thoughts to boost his or her ego, therefore their actions can be considered “a strive for power.”

Utilitarianism & Egalitarianism‎

Definition: In simple terms, do what is good for the greatest number (Utilitarianism) or trend the thoughts that favor equality for all people (Egalitarianism).
Social Media Correlation: Forums

Forums have strict rules where people cannot advertise themselves, and conversations are open and impartial. They are places where people can share their questions or experiences and receive largely respectable engagement. It is a place where people show interest in what others say. With this in mind, the admins keep everything balanced to maintain an impartial community.


Definition: An economic system where modes of production are designed to maximize profits.
Social Media Correlation: Social Data

In some ways, we can see this everywhere now since data means money. If I were to single one platform out though, it would be Facebook. With over half of the online world now on the social network they have a massive monopoly on social data. Marketers and digital teams have to go to where the people are. They have to spend money to ensure they reach their target audience and keep their existing fan-base happy.

The above are all political theories and once you’ve read them they appear fairly obvious. But it’s interesting to see how political thoughts that were considered centuries ago are still transposable with modern communication.

When we begin to look at everything together, we not only begin to see the harmony of theories, something that doesn’t quite work offline, but a relationship that is most easily linked to that of sociological Structural Functionalism.

Structural Functionalism

In layman’s terms, it is the way in which all parts of a society work together. As an example, similar to the way in which parts of the human anatomy work to keep the body going. Each part has it’s own purpose.


But if we take this concept and apply social media types to Structural Functionalism, this is what it looks like:


Sphere of Influence, What do you think?

From a marketing or advertising perspective, and influencer mapping thought process, it’s important to consider more than just the people with the highest visibility, but also the people that have the best sphere of influence interconnecting all channels, since they have a higher value. Of course, this is my opinion, what do you think? Leave your comments below and let me know what you think!