Facebook and Yahoo have teamed up to test the “six degrees of separation” theory using their own social connection resources, which are obviously pretty substantial. With 750 million users, Facebook will be able to see just how interlinked people truly are, at least in the social Web, as part of an academic study.
This just makes it even more apparent how important social media marketing is for any brand interested in mining the social graph, no matter what category, because your reputation and buzz are increasingly driven by the social Web. Without you as a participant in that dialogue, you’re basically putting your good name at the mercy of the social conversation.
Even if you’re not an active participant, even if you don’t have your own Web site or Facebook page — well, first off, what’s wrong with you? — it’s worth it to drop in on a Yelp, or Google your company name once in a while, just to check your reviews. It’s the unsquelched rumor or malicious gossip that can drive the meme in this harrowing new social world if you’re not taking time to repair the damage.