Six Pixels of Separation - The Blog
March 2, 2007 8:40 PM

Online Social Networks Will Help Drop The Divorce Rate

With everything happening in social media and the proliferation of online dating, it got me thinking that because of the power of six pixels of separation (not the Podcast title, but the concept - a world where individuals are connecting in ways we could have never imagined possible) - that the North American divorce rate will decrease significantly in the coming years. When we're connecting like this, it makes sense that your scope of influence increases as geographic boundaries no longer seem relevant. Here's a bold thought: the divorce rate will drop dramatically in the coming years as more and more people meet and get married through online dating or online social networking.

Most divorces happen because the couple were not the "best" match. Someone settles and it probably has some origins in the original pool of people they had to select from. Sure, some of us got lucky (and some not so much), but as more and more people connect by filling in personal profiles and connecting to those who are more like-minded with similar interests, I'm willing to bet that those who do get married are probably finding people they are more compatible with.

The idea behind six pixels of separation goes well beyond its core philosophy that because of technology we are all intrinsically connected. Six pixels of separation speaks to a new way of connecting. It's a world where mass brands are over-taken by personal brands. It's a world where individuals are building their personal brands by connecting to very niche content and media that they are choosing and controlling. It will be a world where divorce rates will decrease as more people get connected because they share personal brand attributes. It's a place where individual brand voice is as loud as the mass advertisers.

There are millions of new ramifications for marketers to deal with. Not only are we challenged with how to reach and connect with these people and their personal brands, Marketers now have to deal with how to market to people who have unique personal brands that share a similar audience size and reach.

Personal brands will (and are) developing closer and more powerful bonds with consumers than the mass brands.

The new models of personal branding as a distinct part of six pixels of separation is taking hold. We're seeing the results at the relationship level - successful online dating and online social networking sites - and this is just the beginning.

More on the power of six pixels of separation, personal branding and how our personal connections are creating new marketing paradigms as the thoughts crystallize.

As you can well imagine, this post is inspired by the concepts I'm presently drilling down on for my book, Six Pixels Of Separation.

There are many more new connections to be made.

By Mitch Joel


Comments Comments Feed
  • Posted by Jay Moonah
    Mitch Joel

    Not to be a contrarian for the sake of it, but I can think of at least two examples in my group of friends where technologies like email and text messaging were used to faciliate cheating by their (now ex-) mates. With social media like myspace and Second Life providing an unprecidented level of anonimity for those who might be, errr, trolling for prospects, isn't it possible that social media will actual encourage a greater turnover in serious relationships by making it easier to meet a new mate if you get bored with the current one?

    Reply
  • Posted by Mitch Joel
    Mitch Joel

    Oh, Jay, you're 100% spot on. I was not implying that by more people finding the right people that there would be an end to the stuff you're talking about. That being said, I think the overall divorce rate going forward (i.e. people getting married from this day forward) will be significantly less than the years prior.

    No doubt people looking to cheat will use this tool to continue their cheating.

    Reply
  • Posted by Adam Dufresne
    Mitch Joel

    Hey Mitch,
    I would tend to agree with you on this on. People who are honest in wanting to be with one person and meet their life mates will probably have a higher success rate now that we can easily connect with millions of people and find one person to share your life with. On the other end of the stick, people who are not honestly looking for one person will have an easier time finding a person to cheat with.

    Reply
  • Posted by Bourbon Hipster
    Mitch Joel

    I don't know, Mitch. I see rising divorce rates as caused not so much the product of not having found that special someone, but from larger cultural attitudes. In other words, it's not like in a world of 6 billion that it's harder to find that special someone. It's that we're generally more self-centred than previous generations, and aren't so willing to make things word.

    For example, people head into marriage looking for the happily ever after, and when they find out that it takes some work, they go looking elsewhere. Everywhere you look, we're getting pounded with messages that either use sex to sell, or imply that we're the centre of the universe. This latter is one of the most underhanded marketing techniques available. It makes the consumer feel empowered by submitting to the ads suggestion.

    Anyway, the point is the same: our entire culture is decadent and geared toward finding something better rather than building it for ourselves. Even if you have a constructive "let's work on it attitude," there's no guarantee that your partner will too, and I doubt that Social Media is going to be able to change that. If anything, I think it'll only encourage it.

    Reply
  • Posted by Neilo
    Mitch Joel

    Hey Mitch,

    Personally, I don’t think either social networking or online dating is going to influence the divorce rate one iota.

    Having been divorced twice (yes, I know… some of us take a while to learn our lessons ? ) and having met the girl I’ve been dating now since 12 months through a well-known European online dating service, some might say that I have an ‘expert opinion’! Oh, and I should add that I have the good fortune to travel frequently and to live in a multi-cultural, multi-lingual, cosmopolitan city slap-bang in the middle of Europe, so meeting people with diverse personal brands and backgrounds has never been a problem.

    Social networking and online dating simply add another pathway to the game of matchmaking and courtship. These online pathways offer more choice, convenience, speed, value for money, and in some cases less risk, as benefits, but they do not provide any guarantee of making the ‘right’ match. These pathways allow you to meet perhaps more frequently with members of the opposite sex to see if a match is possible, but at the end of the day it is good old human values, and the physical matching and testing of them that will determine if you’re to remain matched or not in the longer term. And then the story doesn’t end here – you have to keep those shared values and touch-points going for years after you’ve left your social network or online dating service subscription has fizzled.

    My personal mantra for some years now has been that love is a journey, it’s not the destination. If you met the person who you fall in love with at a bar, nightclub, workplace, neighbor’s house, online dating service, social network or wherever, it’s all the same – what stops you from divorcing is the continued sharing of values that each of you discovered and respect in one another – and those are fully known and understood only by being in each other’s physical presence. I say enjoy the journey, take whichever pathway suits you and above all communicate about what you value in each other.

    Reply
  • Hi Mitch

    History has proven that despite advances in technology, human nature doesn't change. Studies from around the world have affirmed the power of the social network to influence individual behaviour. Transplant a couple from the Sahara Desert to New York, or vice versa, and the networks necessarily change. Ditto from the Internet to the same house. Marriage and divorce will depend on which social network rules...

    Reply
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