Reading Through The Statistics On Social Media - Social Media Explorer
Reading Through The Statistics On Social Media
Reading Through The Statistics On Social Media
by

With the world’s rush to quantify and understand more about social media, social networking and the like, more companies are diving in to research in the social space. Forrester Research isn’t the only one, though their recent Broad Reach of Social Technologies from Sean Corcoran provided confirmation, if anything else, that more people are using social tools and all this talk about social media isn’t for naught.

Face time is the overwhelming preference according to Brightkites survey.
Face time is the overwhelming preference according to Brightkite's survey.

Brightkite, which bills itself as a social discovery network, and GfK Retail and Technology also did some research lately. The “big” insight wasn’t really big at all, but now we have a number to attach to it. It appears 87 percent of people prefer face-to-face interactions than spending time online and would rather talk in person at a rate 44 times more than through online means. I know … duh. But the research also shows that consumer behavior contradicts their preference.

Two-thirds of respondents say they don’t see their friends as often as they would like and nine percent of consumers say they’re “addicted” to social networks. Now, nine percent isn’t that much, but even the implication reminds us of what we all know. When you get right down to it, we’re spending too much time online and not enough time with each other.

Brightkite, clever lads and lasses they are, are spinning the numbers to say you can use them to locate your friends, make new ones and get more face time. Use the online social networks to populate your offline ones. They’re not wrong. If you use Brightkite and similar geo-specific social networking tools the way they’re intended you certainly can find your buds and make new ones in the flesh. Provided, of course, you’re not too creepy in person.

But then again, if you use other social networks that way, you can do the same. I don’t use Brightkite regularly and have met hundreds of people, plus made a handful of really good friends through social networks like Facebook, Twitter and even (wait for it … don’t cringe) MySpace. I applaud Brightkite for drawing those lines and for the effort. I guess I’ll surrender and agree that Tweeting my exact location may have some value. (I’ve made fun of Brightkite Tweets before, saying things like, “I’m at 600 West Main Street in Louisville, Ky., and not a single person really cares.”)

So do these statistics tell us anything, indicate a trend … or reversal of what we think is happening, that more people are shunning the face-to-face for the online space-to-space? Is Charlene Li‘s prediction that social media will become, “Like air,” in danger? I don’t think so. Corcoran’s report shows all categories of social participation (in the Forrester Social Technographics Ladder) saw increases in 2009. Forum and message board participation is down, but that’s likely to increased participation on Facebook and other more sophisticated social networks, according to the report. Age groups are catching up with Gen-Y as well, proving that it’s not your college student’s web anymore.

All this means we’re on the right track. This is where consumers and, thus, marketing is going.

Even if it shouldn’t be.

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About the Author

Jason Falls
Jason Falls is the founder of Social Media Explorer and one of the most notable and outspoken voices in the social media marketing industry. He is a noted marketing keynote speaker, author of two books and unapologetic bourbon aficionado. He can also be found at JasonFalls.com.
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  • Pingback: The Social Profile of Your Customers « Ze Media Biz Blog()

  • Great post, congrats!

  • Great post, congrats!

  • mikeelrapido

    Great post, congrats!

  • I'm glad to see these numbers out. When Forrester released their report stating 85% of US online participants visited social networks, the stats also include the qualifier that this included those participants who made the visit once per month.

    This like saying in mainstream media terms 85% of the US watches TV once a month so the best form of advertising is TV. I appreciate this statement is frought with weaknesses but is the 85% of the US participating in social media really mean 85% are 'all that into it'? This data seems to indicate a balanced view of reality, SM is part of a big change in this and the next decade but certainly not the full focus of it.

  • I'm glad to see these numbers out. When Forrester released their report stating 85% of US online participants visited social networks, the stats also include the qualifier that this included those participants who made the visit once per month.

    This like saying in mainstream media terms 85% of the US watches TV once a month so the best form of advertising is TV. I appreciate this statement is frought with weaknesses but is the 85% of the US participating in social media really mean 85% are 'all that into it'? This data seems to indicate a balanced view of reality, SM is part of a big change in this and the next decade but certainly not the full focus of it.

  • I'm glad to see these numbers out. When Forrester released their report stating 85% of US online participants visited social networks, the stats also include the qualifier that this included those participants who made the visit once per month.

    This like saying in mainstream media terms 85% of the US watches TV once a month so the best form of advertising is TV. I appreciate this statement is frought with weaknesses but is the 85% of the US participating in social media really mean 85% are 'all that into it'? This data seems to indicate a balanced view of reality, SM is part of a big change in this and the next decade but certainly not the full focus of it.

  • Social media is now in the maintream.We can not run away from social media today but the addictive effect of it is beginning to show in how much time we now have to meet physically for loved ones unlike pre-social network era

  • Social media is now in the maintream.We can not run away from social media today but the addictive effect of it is beginning to show in how much time we now have to meet physically for loved ones unlike pre-social network era

  • Social media is now in the maintream.We can not run away from social media today but the addictive effect of it is beginning to show in how much time we now have to meet physically for loved ones unlike pre-social network era

  • Social media is now in the maintream.We can not run away from social media today but the addictive effect of it is beginning to show in how much time we now have to meet physically for loved ones unlike pre-social network era

  • Social media is now in the maintream.We can not run away from social media today but the addictive effect of it is beginning to show in how much time we now have to meet physically for loved ones unlike pre-social network era

  • brandaddict

    We can not run away from social media today but the addictive effect of it is beginning to show in how much time we now have to meet physically for loved ones unlike pre-social network era

  • brandaddict

    We can not run away from social media today but the addictive effect of it is beginning to show in how much time we now have to meet physically for loved ones unlike pre-social network era

  • brandaddict

    We can not run away from social media today but the addictive effect of it is beginning to show in how much time we now have to meet physically for loved ones unlike pre-social network era

  • brandaddict

    We can not run away from social media today but the addictive effect of it is beginning to show in how much time we now have to meet physically for loved ones unlike pre-social network era

  • brandaddict

    We can not run away from social media today but the addictive effect of it is beginning to show in how much time we now have to meet physically for loved ones unlike pre-social network era

  • Great post! Def. worth responding to.

    Personally I use Facebook a lot (for personal reasons mostly) and it helps increase the quality of my time spent offline. Offline without online is like “Playing chess without the pieces, Modern Christians without Jesus, Rasta's without Reefer, Jamaican's in Princeton without Visa's, Radio's without speakers, Mother nature without the 4 seasons, Without a jacket outside when its freezing,” – Canibus

    But yes, it is understandable that many would prefer face to face than spending time online. Cyber relationships are exciting nonetheless, but a face to face conversation brings with it many other benefits and reminds us we're still human.

  • Great post! Def. worth responding to.

    Personally I use Facebook a lot (for personal reasons mostly) and it helps increase the quality of my time spent offline. Offline without online is like “Playing chess without the pieces, Modern Christians without Jesus, Rasta's without Reefer, Jamaican's in Princeton without Visa's, Radio's without speakers, Mother nature without the 4 seasons, Without a jacket outside when its freezing,” – Canibus

    But yes, it is understandable that many would prefer face to face than spending time online. Cyber relationships are exciting nonetheless, but a face to face conversation brings with it many other benefits and reminds us we're still human.

  • Great post! Def. worth responding to.

    Personally I use Facebook a lot (for personal reasons mostly) and it helps increase the quality of my time spent offline. Offline without online is like “Playing chess without the pieces, Modern Christians without Jesus, Rasta's without Reefer, Jamaican's in Princeton without Visa's, Radio's without speakers, Mother nature without the 4 seasons, Without a jacket outside when its freezing,” – Canibus

    But yes, it is understandable that many would prefer face to face than spending time online. Cyber relationships are exciting nonetheless, but a face to face conversation brings with it many other benefits and reminds us we're still human.

  • Great post! Def. worth responding to.

    Personally I use Facebook a lot (for personal reasons mostly) and it helps increase the quality of my time spent offline. Offline without online is like “Playing chess without the pieces, Modern Christians without Jesus, Rasta's without Reefer, Jamaican's in Princeton without Visa's, Radio's without speakers, Mother nature without the 4 seasons, Without a jacket outside when its freezing,” – Canibus

    But yes, it is understandable that many would prefer face to face than spending time online. Cyber relationships are exciting nonetheless, but a face to face conversation brings with it many other benefits and reminds us we're still human.

  • Great post! Def. worth responding to.

    Personally I use Facebook a lot (for personal reasons mostly) and it helps increase the quality of my time spent offline. Offline without online is like “Playing chess without the pieces, Modern Christians without Jesus, Rasta's without Reefer, Jamaican's in Princeton without Visa's, Radio's without speakers, Mother nature without the 4 seasons, Without a jacket outside when its freezing,” – Canibus

    But yes, it is understandable that many would prefer face to face than spending time online. Cyber relationships are exciting nonetheless, but a face to face conversation brings with it many other benefits and reminds us we're still human.

  • Jason,

    Another way to gain perspective would be to actually look to how it all got started. If you want to learn about Social Networks, why not read the pioneers of Network Theory itself? The primary actors have written highly readable and engaging accounts that contain great insight and wisdom.

    They provide two metrics that would be interesting for Social Media to track internally: Path Lengths and Cluster Coefficient.

    See: “The Forces that Drive Social Networks”

    http://www.digitaltonto.com/archives/358

    – Greg

  • Jason,

    Another way to gain perspective would be to actually look to how it all got started. If you want to learn about Social Networks, why not read the pioneers of Network Theory itself? The primary actors have written highly readable and engaging accounts that contain great insight and wisdom.

    They provide two metrics that would be interesting for Social Media to track internally: Path Lengths and Cluster Coefficient.

    See: “The Forces that Drive Social Networks”

    http://www.digitaltonto.com/archives/358

    – Greg

  • gregsatell

    Jason,

    Another way to gain perspective would be to actually look to how it all got started. If you want to learn about Social Networks, why not read the pioneers of Network Theory itself? The primary actors have written highly readable and engaging accounts that contain great insight and wisdom.

    They provide two metrics that would be interesting for Social Media to track internally: Path Lengths and Cluster Coefficient.

    See: “The Forces that Drive Social Networks”

    http://www.digitaltonto.com/archives/358

    – Greg

  • gregsatell

    Jason,

    Another way to gain perspective would be to actually look to how it all got started. If you want to learn about Social Networks, why not read the pioneers of Network Theory itself? The primary actors have written highly readable and engaging accounts that contain great insight and wisdom.

    They provide two metrics that would be interesting for Social Media to track internally: Path Lengths and Cluster Coefficient.

    See: “The Forces that Drive Social Networks”

    http://www.digitaltonto.com/archives/358

    – Greg

  • gregsatell

    Jason,

    Another way to gain perspective would be to actually look to how it all got started. If you want to learn about Social Networks, why not read the pioneers of Network Theory itself? The primary actors have written highly readable and engaging accounts that contain great insight and wisdom.

    They provide two metrics that would be interesting for Social Media to track internally: Path Lengths and Cluster Coefficient.

    See: “The Forces that Drive Social Networks”

    http://www.digitaltonto.com/archives/358

    – Greg

  • I think a key point here is the word “preferences” and not “reality”. The fact that people want to have face to face contact is one that seems rather obvious to me. I am sure that most people prefer intimate contact too but you will notice that date and chat lines bristle with business.

    The fact is that life work balance is not balanced and we squeeze the time in with friends when and where we can. I would love to see my extended family more than I do but keep up with them almost daily online via Facebook.

    I don't think the study is of great insight asking what people prefer to do rather than what do you do. Don't get me wrong these are incredibly important numbers for getting a better understanding of what people would prefer to do. IIt is all part of the equation.

    Thanks for the post Jason

  • I think a key point here is the word “preferences” and not “reality”. The fact that people want to have face to face contact is one that seems rather obvious to me. I am sure that most people prefer intimate contact too but you will notice that date and chat lines bristle with business.

    The fact is that life work balance is not balanced and we squeeze the time in with friends when and where we can. I would love to see my extended family more than I do but keep up with them almost daily online via Facebook.

    I don't think the study is of great insight asking what people prefer to do rather than what do you do. Don't get me wrong these are incredibly important numbers for getting a better understanding of what people would prefer to do. IIt is all part of the equation.

    Thanks for the post Jason

  • I think a key point here is the word “preferences” and not “reality”. The fact that people want to have face to face contact is one that seems rather obvious to me. I am sure that most people prefer intimate contact too but you will notice that date and chat lines bristle with business.

    The fact is that life work balance is not balanced and we squeeze the time in with friends when and where we can. I would love to see my extended family more than I do but keep up with them almost daily online via Facebook.

    I don't think the study is of great insight asking what people prefer to do rather than what do you do. Don't get me wrong these are incredibly important numbers for getting a better understanding of what people would prefer to do. IIt is all part of the equation.

    Thanks for the post Jason

  • I think a key point here is the word “preferences” and not “reality”. The fact that people want to have face to face contact is one that seems rather obvious to me. I am sure that most people prefer intimate contact too but you will notice that date and chat lines bristle with business.

    The fact is that life work balance is not balanced and we squeeze the time in with friends when and where we can. I would love to see my extended family more than I do but keep up with them almost daily online via Facebook.

    I don't think the study is of great insight asking what people prefer to do rather than what do you do. Don't get me wrong these are incredibly important numbers for getting a better understanding of what people would prefer to do. IIt is all part of the equation.

    Thanks for the post Jason

  • I think a key point here is the word “preferences” and not “reality”. The fact that people want to have face to face contact is one that seems rather obvious to me. I am sure that most people prefer intimate contact too but you will notice that date and chat lines bristle with business.

    The fact is that life work balance is not balanced and we squeeze the time in with friends when and where we can. I would love to see my extended family more than I do but keep up with them almost daily online via Facebook.

    I don't think the study is of great insight asking what people prefer to do rather than what do you do. Don't get me wrong these are incredibly important numbers for getting a better understanding of what people would prefer to do. IIt is all part of the equation.

    Thanks for the post Jason

  • Jason,

    good points though I would just say that the conferences that we go to aren't representative of the general population. It is more about us nerds trying to out do each other. That being said, I completely agree that we need less laptops and cell phones at conferences.

  • Jason,

    good points though I would just say that the conferences that we go to aren't representative of the general population. It is more about us nerds trying to out do each other. That being said, I completely agree that we need less laptops and cell phones at conferences.

  • Jason,

    good points though I would just say that the conferences that we go to aren't representative of the general population. It is more about us nerds trying to out do each other. That being said, I completely agree that we need less laptops and cell phones at conferences.

  • Jason,

    good points though I would just say that the conferences that we go to aren't representative of the general population. It is more about us nerds trying to out do each other. That being said, I completely agree that we need less laptops and cell phones at conferences.

  • I have to agree with Kipp on this one. I think the study really shows why social networks are so valuable and growing in adoption.

    Looks like most people (myself included) *want* to meet with friends face-to-face, but, more often than not, time and/or distance prevent us from doing so.

  • I have to agree with Kipp on this one. I think the study really shows why social networks are so valuable and growing in adoption.

    Looks like most people (myself included) *want* to meet with friends face-to-face, but, more often than not, time and/or distance prevent us from doing so.

  • I have to agree with Kipp on this one. I think the study really shows why social networks are so valuable and growing in adoption.

    Looks like most people (myself included) *want* to meet with friends face-to-face, but, more often than not, time and/or distance prevent us from doing so.

  • I have to agree with Kipp on this one. I think the study really shows why social networks are so valuable and growing in adoption.

    Looks like most people (myself included) *want* to meet with friends face-to-face, but, more often than not, time and/or distance prevent us from doing so.

  • Jason, have you ever read Keith Ferrazzi's book 'Never Eat Alone'?

    The subject of the book relates directly to this post, namely that building relationships is the most important social and career move one can make. Keith reminds readers that you just can't replace good, old fashioned face to face networking (in life as a whole, not just for business).

    My favorite part of the book revolves around the theory of generous networking. That is, not just passing out business cards, but taking genuine interest in others.

    Really a book about the rubber meeting the road. Great post as always! My favorite snippet is about people's behaviors not matching their so-called 'preferences'. The marketers in the room can attest to that!

    P.S. As of 9:51 am on Friday, September 4th, 2009 – Jason Falls has the Number 1 Blog according to the AdAge Power 150 . Well deserved!

  • Jason, have you ever read Keith Ferrazzi's book 'Never Eat Alone'?

    The subject of the book relates directly to this post, namely that building relationships is the most important social and career move one can make. Keith reminds readers that you just can't replace good, old fashioned face to face networking (in life as a whole, not just for business).

    My favorite part of the book revolves around the theory of generous networking. That is, not just passing out business cards, but taking genuine interest in others.

    Really a book about the rubber meeting the road. Great post as always! My favorite snippet is about people's behaviors not matching their so-called 'preferences'. The marketers in the room can attest to that!

    P.S. As of 9:51 am on Friday, September 4th, 2009 – Jason Falls has the Number 1 Blog according to the AdAge Power 150 . Well deserved!

  • Jason, have you ever read Keith Ferrazzi's book 'Never Eat Alone'?

    The subject of the book relates directly to this post, namely that building relationships is the most important social and career move one can make. Keith reminds readers that you just can't replace good, old fashioned face to face networking (in life as a whole, not just for business).

    My favorite part of the book revolves around the theory of generous networking. That is, not just passing out business cards, but taking genuine interest in others.

    Really a book about the rubber meeting the road. Great post as always! My favorite snippet is about people's behaviors not matching their so-called 'preferences'. The marketers in the room can attest to that!

    P.S. As of 9:51 am on Friday, September 4th, 2009 – Jason Falls has the Number 1 Blog according to the AdAge Power 150 . Well deserved!

  • Jason, have you ever read Keith Ferrazzi's book 'Never Eat Alone'?

    The subject of the book relates directly to this post, namely that building relationships is the most important social and career move one can make. Keith reminds readers that you just can't replace good, old fashioned face to face networking (in life as a whole, not just for business).

    My favorite part of the book revolves around the theory of generous networking. That is, not just passing out business cards, but taking genuine interest in others.

    Really a book about the rubber meeting the road. Great post as always! My favorite snippet is about people's behaviors not matching their so-called 'preferences'. The marketers in the room can attest to that!

    P.S. As of 9:51 am on Friday, September 4th, 2009 – Jason Falls has the Number 1 Blog according to the AdAge Power 150 . Well deserved!

  • Jason, have you ever read Keith Ferrazzi's book 'Never Eat Alone'?

    The subject of the book relates directly to this post, namely that building relationships is the most important social and career move one can make. Keith reminds readers that you just can't replace good, old fashioned face to face networking (in life as a whole, not just for business).

    My favorite part of the book revolves around the theory of generous networking. That is, not just passing out business cards, but taking genuine interest in others.

    Really a book about the rubber meeting the road. Great post as always! My favorite snippet is about people's behaviors not matching their so-called 'preferences'. The marketers in the room can attest to that!

    P.S. As of 9:51 am on Friday, September 4th, 2009 – Jason Falls has the Number 1 Blog according to the AdAge Power 150 . Well deserved!

  • Fair point, Kipp. But I think while the online networks weren't ever intended to replace face to face, for many people they have. Case in point – while we have a blast getting to hang face to face at a few conferences a year, how many times have you walked into a blog lounge and noticed most everyone is sucked into their computer, not looking at and talking to each other? We're so caught up in our social networks, with the emphasis on the “s” in networks that we forget to stop and network. Without the “s.”

    Two cents. Fair points, though. Thanks!

  • Fair point, Kipp. But I think while the online networks weren't ever intended to replace face to face, for many people they have. Case in point – while we have a blast getting to hang face to face at a few conferences a year, how many times have you walked into a blog lounge and noticed most everyone is sucked into their computer, not looking at and talking to each other? We're so caught up in our social networks, with the emphasis on the “s” in networks that we forget to stop and network. Without the “s.”

    Two cents. Fair points, though. Thanks!

  • Fair point, Kipp. But I think while the online networks weren't ever intended to replace face to face, for many people they have. Case in point – while we have a blast getting to hang face to face at a few conferences a year, how many times have you walked into a blog lounge and noticed most everyone is sucked into their computer, not looking at and talking to each other? We're so caught up in our social networks, with the emphasis on the “s” in networks that we forget to stop and network. Without the “s.”

    Two cents. Fair points, though. Thanks!

  • Fair point, Kipp. But I think while the online networks weren't ever intended to replace face to face, for many people they have. Case in point – while we have a blast getting to hang face to face at a few conferences a year, how many times have you walked into a blog lounge and noticed most everyone is sucked into their computer, not looking at and talking to each other? We're so caught up in our social networks, with the emphasis on the “s” in networks that we forget to stop and network. Without the “s.”

    Two cents. Fair points, though. Thanks!

  • Jason,

    You make some good points, but I would argue that your original assumption is off. I don't think that online social networks has every really been seen as a replacement to face-to-face communication. Instead it is a better way to manage relationships when face-to-face communication isn't an option. To catch up with people you know well in person (Facebook), discover new friends (Twitter) etc.

    You and I haven't seen each other in several months, but it doesn't really feel like it because we have the web. We live in a world in which constant face-to-face conversations aren't a reality so we have had to innovate and use the web to find ways to stay connected when face-to-face isn't an option.

  • Jason,

    You make some good points, but I would argue that your original assumption is off. I don't think that online social networks has every really been seen as a replacement to face-to-face communication. Instead it is a better way to manage relationships when face-to-face communication isn't an option. To catch up with people you know well in person (Facebook), discover new friends (Twitter) etc.

    You and I haven't seen each other in several months, but it doesn't really feel like it because we have the web. We live in a world in which constant face-to-face conversations aren't a reality so we have had to innovate and use the web to find ways to stay connected when face-to-face isn't an option.

  • Jason,

    You make some good points, but I would argue that your original assumption is off. I don't think that online social networks has every really been seen as a replacement to face-to-face communication. Instead it is a better way to manage relationships when face-to-face communication isn't an option. To catch up with people you know well in person (Facebook), discover new friends (Twitter) etc.

    You and I haven't seen each other in several months, but it doesn't really feel like it because we have the web. We live in a world in which constant face-to-face conversations aren't a reality so we have had to innovate and use the web to find ways to stay connected when face-to-face isn't an option.

  • Jason,

    You make some good points, but I would argue that your original assumption is off. I don't think that online social networks has every really been seen as a replacement to face-to-face communication. Instead it is a better way to manage relationships when face-to-face communication isn't an option. To catch up with people you know well in person (Facebook), discover new friends (Twitter) etc.

    You and I haven't seen each other in several months, but it doesn't really feel like it because we have the web. We live in a world in which constant face-to-face conversations aren't a reality so we have had to innovate and use the web to find ways to stay connected when face-to-face isn't an option.

  • Jason,

    You make some good points, but I would argue that your original assumption is off. I don't think that online social networks has every really been seen as a replacement to face-to-face communication. Instead it is a better way to manage relationships when face-to-face communication isn't an option. To catch up with people you know well in person (Facebook), discover new friends (Twitter) etc.

    You and I haven't seen each other in several months, but it doesn't really feel like it because we have the web. We live in a world in which constant face-to-face conversations aren't a reality so we have had to innovate and use the web to find ways to stay connected when face-to-face isn't an option.

    • Fair point, Kipp. But I think while the online networks weren't ever intended to replace face to face, for many people they have. Case in point – while we have a blast getting to hang face to face at a few conferences a year, how many times have you walked into a blog lounge and noticed most everyone is sucked into their computer, not looking at and talking to each other? We're so caught up in our social networks, with the emphasis on the “s” in networks that we forget to stop and network. Without the “s.”

      Two cents. Fair points, though. Thanks!

      • Jason,

        good points though I would just say that the conferences that we go to aren't representative of the general population. It is more about us nerds trying to out do each other. That being said, I completely agree that we need less laptops and cell phones at conferences.

    • I have to agree with Kipp on this one. I think the study really shows why social networks are so valuable and growing in adoption.

      Looks like most people (myself included) *want* to meet with friends face-to-face, but, more often than not, time and/or distance prevent us from doing so.